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Summing Up Patentability
In the U.S., the rules of patentability of software, particularly business methods, are
clear. Although under the rules of the EPC, much software is patentable in Europe,
politics muddy the water. Given the fact that the EPO has considered its software prior
art databases inadequate, the EPO has, at least in the recent past, simply refused to
perform searches on many software applications.
Because the U.S. Patent Office has
more experience with software patents, and therefore a bit more confident that its prior
art databases are complete, the U.S. Patent Office has, to my knowledge, never refused to
perform a software search. Consequently, one may fairly assert that the chances of
obtaining valid patent protection for software are better where the search and examination
is performed in the U.S. Patent Office as opposed to the European Patent Office.
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