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[FYI] FICPI on Scope of Software Patent Protection


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FICPI, the International Federation of Intellectual Property 
Attorneys, broadly representative of the free profession of more than 
70 countries, assembled at its World Congress held in Vancouver from 
June 12 to June 16, 2000, passed the following Resolution :  

Taking note  

a.of the increasing activity in patenting of computer and software 
related innovations in all fields of business and technology, and  

b.the removal of restrictions or exclusions from patenting of 
computer programmes as such in patent legislation worldwide in 
compliance with WTO member states of obligations under the TRIPS 

Having considered  

a.that when patent claims on such innovations are directed to a 
method for performance of operations and/or a system for 
implementation of such method, the definition of the scope of 
protection will typically include features or elements additional to 
the features or elements integrated in the software innovation 
itself, and  

b.that, under existing statutory definitions, such definition of the 
scope of protection implies that unauthorized use of the invention by 
a third party will amount to an act of contributory infringement 
only, and  

c.that in many countries the enforcement of patents against acts of 
contributory infringement is limited to the performance of such acts 
in respect of use of the invention as a whole (method or system) 
within the national jurisdiction,  

Welcoming the development of practice in the EPO to accept patent 
claims directed specifically to the software product in which the 
innovation is enshrined,  


a.that there is a need for worldwide harmonization on the 
enforceability of protection for patents on computer or software 
related inventions, and  

b.that the protection afforded must be relevant to commercial 
realities and commensurate with the contribution to the art made by 
the inventor, and  

Urges relevant authorities at the international, regional and 
national levels to provide an harmonized definition of the rights 
conferred by a patent that takes into account such commercial 

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