The team is joined by GuestKats Mirko Brüß, Rosie Burbidge, Nedim Malovic, Frantzeska Papadopolou, Mathilde Pavis, and Eibhlin Vardy
InternKats: Rose Hughes, Ieva Giedrimaite, and Cecilia Sbrolli
SpecialKats: Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo (TechieKat), Hayleigh Bosher (Book Review Editor), and Tian Lu (Asia Correspondent).

Monday, 20 March 2006


The patent system: is it obsolete?

The IPKat has received a copy of a curious little book called International Patent Law is Obsolete, written by Dr Anna Mancini and published by Buenos Books, New York (which has also published Ms Mancini's thoughts on copyright, the internet and subjects as diverse as the intelligence of dreams, ancient Roman solutions to patent law and the philosophy of justice in ancient Egypt, all in English and separately in French).

The author's thesis is that, since the patent system was developed mainly during the industrial revolution to protect material innovations, patent law cannot be applied to "intangible industrial inventions". Software for example is denied patentability due to its lack of materiality. Such a justification for this denial is economic nonsense: international patent law must be adapted to cover the emerging virtual world. This has not been done. Unsuited to modern innovation, international patent law has reached a period of decline.

According to Dr Mancini, this decline is due to the fact that despite the existence of international agreements, countries have now come to ignore the framework of the patent system (for software) and sometimes to adopt new international agreements (for semi-conductor chips). This book seeks to explain how this situation has arisen and how and why we should urgently modernize and rebalance the international patent system.

To be honest, this book is more of a medium-sized essay than a book. With small pages, large print and plenty of white space, it could probsbly have been comfortably housed in a regular law journal. The author is a passionate advocate of her position, but the IPKat wonders whether this little book might not be improved by more background research and careful reading, as well as by focusing on the way in which the patent system succeeds in protecting so many software inventions notwithstanding their apparent lack of materiality.

Bibliographical details: ISBNs - paperback 1-932848-17-7, e-book 1-932848-16-9; 116 pages, US$35.


Tibor Gold of Kilburn & Strode (who was involved in the EUROMASTER case, which was originally flagged here and later explained here) adds:

"There is absolutely nothing new in the EUROMASTER case. The marks are identical but tyres and repair services were held to be neither similar nor even complementary to transport services or organising sporting events (car rallies). Different target publics. A completely hopeless appeal, like so many, alas, on which we waste our time ...

BTW, thou Linguistically Challenged One: WEISSE SEITEN (see IPKat post here) means WHITE PAGES [as in Yellow Pages]".

The IPKat says, it's enough to make a cat cry ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do those who oppose software patens realise that there are other patents apart from those that relate to software? They run the risk of boring us all to death and doing their cause more harm than good

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