HC Deb 04 November 2003 vol 412 c558W
Adam Price

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the Government's policy on the European Software Patent Directive. [135283]

Ms Hewitt

The Government's policy remains the same as that announced in 2001 after a public consultation on the patentability of software. The Government's conclusion from that consultation was to reaffirm the principle that patents are for technological innovations. Software should not be patentable where there is no technological innovation, and technological innovations should not cease to be patentable merely because the innovation lies in software. However, the consultation also concluded that business methods should remain unpatentable.

Subsequently, we have supported the introduction by the European Commission of a draft Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions, in order to clarify the legal position across the European Union. Discussions on this Directive are on-going and I await the outcome of further discussions between the EU institutions on its progress.

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