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News : Irish Last Updated: Apr 24, 2009 - 5:31:05 PM

Irish patent expert tell US conference that Software is patentable in Europe; Irish Patent Data 2006
By Finfacts Team
Mar 12, 2008 - 3:06:23 PM

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Michael O'Connor, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys

  • Software patentable in Europe, Irish expert tells US conference
  • More than 250 companies & universities, including Yahoo!, Microsoft, MIT, UC Berkeley and Stanford, in attendance at AUTM
  • Companies must use European patent attorneys to protect software innovations
  • Cruickshank also offering free 'IP-Free60' patent consultation to Irish software companies

Cruickshank, Ireland's principal firm of patent and trade mark attorneys, has launched an ambitious plan to target US software developers.  Michael O'Connor, Patent Attorney at Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, has told delegates at the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) Annual Meeting in San Diego that, contrary to popular belief, software is patentable in Europe.

Michael O'Connor is a leading expert on European software patents, and explained to his audience, which comprised technology transfer and intellectual property experts from a range of companies and
universities, including Yahoo!, Microsoft, MIT, UC Berkeley and Stanford, why software patent applications fail in Europe, and what needs to be done to resolve the problems. Cruickshank representatives
will also be meeting with a range of US technology and software companies over the coming months as part of a drive to educate them about European software patents.

The AUTM represents technology transfer and innovation experts in more than 350 universities, research institutions, teaching hospitals and government agencies as well as hundreds of companies involved with managing and licensing innovations.

The European Patent Office currently grants approximately 56% of all patents applied for.  However, the grant rate drops to just 20% of software patent applications.  Requirements for European software patents are much more stringent than those applying in the USA.

Michael O'Connor, Patent Attorney at Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys
, said "
It's a myth that software is not patentable in Europe. In fact, the European Patent Office (EPO) issues software patents regularly.  Confusion arises because of differences in the European requirements for software patent applications compared to those in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Data on Irish Related Patents
The most recent figures relate to 2006, but are as follows: 
  • Patents applied for in 2006 at the Irish Patent Office: 935
  • Patents applied for in 2006 at the Irish Patent Office by persons giving their country of origin as Ireland: 838
  • Patents issued in 2006 by the Irish Patent Office: 357 (note that it normally takes more than one year to issue a patent, so those numbers aren't necessarily correlatable)
  • Patents issued in 2006 by the Irish Patent Office by persons giving their country of origin as Ireland: 286
  • Applications filed at the European Patent Office designating Ireland as their country in 2006: 123,912
  • Patents issued in 2006 by the European Patent Office designating Ireland as their country: 33,895
  • Patents in force at the Irish Patent Office on 31st December 2006: 68,298

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