Added: (Wed Dec 13 2000)


Proposals to allow the patenting of software and business methods have sparked fierce debate from the public in an online forum organised by Derwent Information.

The forum, which followed the online publication of a chapter on patents from a forthcoming book entitled “Caught in a Web” had members of the public logging on to voice their opinions on the issue. Supporters felt that a change in the law would help businesses compete whilst critics argued that new patents would stifle innovation and encourage litigation.

At the moment, computer software cannot be patented in the UK and other EU countries whilst in America firms can patent software that facilitates business processes. Amazon.com received a US patent for its 1-Click ordering process, which lets repeat shoppers purchase items without having to re-enter personal information.

Caught in a Web by Derwent Information explores whether there is a need to provide an effective intellectual property system for the Internet. In the 208-page guide, the roles of patents, trademarks and copyright with respect to the web come under the scrutiny of experts from the Internet and IP professions alike.

Francis Gurry, the Assistant Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, provides the foreword and interviewees include Andrew Yeates, Director General of the British Phonographic Industry and Robin Gross the lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Part of Thomson Scientific, Derwent Information is the world’s leading authority in patent and scientific information solutions, covering more than a million patents a year, from 40 international patent authorities, as well as research papers from more than 1,200 other sources. Over 350 Derwent scientific and patent experts assess, classify, abstract and code this information into sector-specific patent families, in which the entire patent history of each invention is contained. For further information on Derwent and its products and services go to www.derwent.com

The UK Patent Office is currently seeking views from businesses and the general public on whether Britain should adopt US style patenting. The consultation period finishes on December 15th 2000. The European Patent Office voted at a conference in Munich last month to keep existing restrictions on software patents while consultation continues.

For additional information about this publication, please contact: The Marketing Department, Derwent Information, 14 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5DF (fax +44 (0)207 344 2901/email: ann-maria.joyce@derwent.co.uk)

Readers can post comments to the authors of the book at: www.ipmatters.net/webcaught/intro.html


For more press information contact:
Deborah Fields/Peter Colegate at Prowse & Co, tel: 01372 363 386
Ann-Maria Joyce at Derwent, tel: 020 7424 2624

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