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Thursday, 13 June 2013 10:04

Germans decide to limit software patents

Written by Nick Farrell

EU likely to follow

The German parliament has decided to drastically cut back the powers of companies to patent software. The Parliament urges the German Government to take steps to limit the granting of patents on computer programs.

It means that software will be covered by copyright, and the rights of the copyright holders should not be devalued by third parties' software patents. It has allowed an exception where computer programs replace an mechanical or electromagnetic component. In addition the Parliament made clear that governmental actions related to patents must never interfere with the legality of distributing Free Software.

Matthias Kirschner, of the free software federation said the move is an important step to fix the software patent insanity.

“It's great to see that all of Germany's major parties understand that software patents are a huge problem and that they are acting accordingly," he said,

Tens of thousands of software patents in Germany and Europe present enormous cost and liability risks, especially for SMEs. Several German SME associations welcomed the Parliament's decision. Any moves in Germany should result in similar drafts in other EU countries.

Nick Farrell

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