ISSN: 1204-5357

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Opinion Article Open Access

The Mess That is the European Software Patent


Apart from the question which source code editor is better, few issues get a more heated reception among software engineers than the one whether software should be patentable. This is particularly true in Europe, where the 1978 European Patent Convention (EPC) explicitly forbids patents on “computer programs as such”. Yet, judicial decisions from the European Patent Office (EPO) and a failed attempt at European legislation have turned this seemingly clear phrase into a quagmire.

Arnoud Engelfriet

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