Taylor-Wessing partner: Directive will give us US-style software patents

The London-based patent attorney Nigel Stoate, partner from the law firm Taylor-Wessing has clarfied what the software-patent directive is about. Taylor-Wessing is the law firm that also has Klaus-Heiner Lehne MEP listed as one of their partners. Lehne is called head of "Regulatory Affairs" and was hired together with his parliamentary assistant Haak in September 2003 for lobbying consulting for clients of Taylor Wessing, a multi-national law firm specialising on patent litigation for IP-rich corporations.

In the Sydney Morning Herald Nigel Stoate is quoted saying:

Nigel Stoate, a patent attorney with London firm Taylor Wessing, says the directive leaves the status quo mostly unchanged. About 30,000 software patents are granted by the European Patent Office and the scope of patentability will not be significantly widened. Mr Stoate says the directive removes inconsistencies in granting software patents across the EU's jurisdictions. "Europe recognises that patenting software is important to keep up with the US, and the new directive achieves this," Mr Stoate says. "The new directive is intended to harmonise the position across all the member states."

Nigel Stoate is a Taylor-Wessing partner for "Intellectual Property", so he knows what he is talking about. One can only wonder why Mr. Lehne keeps on pushing the fairy tale that the directive is not about patenting software "as such". It seems that at least one partner from his law-firm has understood what the directive is about.

Nigel Stoate is also member of Licensing Executives Society (LES) and the author of an article on "The Patentability of Software-related Business Methods - The Irish Perspective":

Given the global reach of the Internet, it is important for companies to be aware that patent rights can be used both as an offensive weapon for battling competitors, and a defensive shield for protecting business, quite apart from the inherent value to the business of holding patents. Already a considerable level of litigation has developed in the United States. Recent examples include a US Internet provider obtaining a restraining order, preventing a rival company from using a "floating advertising window" for which a patent was claimed . In addition, an online auction site displayed a notice on its site indicating that it has applied for a patent for thumbnails, a way of browsing items that uses miniature pictures in JPEG format.

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