Patents play an important role in ensuring the protection of technical inventions. They are an incentive for innovators: ensuring the motivation to invest the necessary time and capital. But traditionally, patent protection was awarded only to technical inventions, such as engines or shavers. Computer programs (software) were protected instead by copyright.
Recent years have brought increasing demands from the industry
for the recognition of software patents, but there has also been an
associated debate about the economic impacts of patents: whether
patents accelerate or hamper the innovation process of software.
Dr. Hoppen’s book is a valuable contribution to the debate about the needs of a new software patent mechanism.
His coverage of the pros and cons of patent protection; the dependence of invention on previous inventions; the development
time for innovations; the size and inter-relationship of the different
companies and parties involved; the harmonisation between different stakeholders in the environment of software innovations, and the different demands of the different markets in Europe and the United States of America are covered with exceptional clarity and understanding. The case studies support a compelling argument.
I recommend this book to all those who are involved in software innovations and protection mechanisms. It will help in finding answers to the open questions which remain, especially those concerning the duration and scope of software patent protection.