Will the rise of the software patent eclipse copyright as the predominant way of protecting and enforcing proprietary rights in software?
This maybe the case in the US where software patents are more easily obtainable but in the EU and particularly the UK there is still substantial resistance to the granting of software patents unless they have a technical effect.
Software patents will probably rise with cloud computing. With applications hosted in a third party server which is accessed by users there is unlikely to be "copying" of a substantial part of the source or object code so copyright will become less important. The patent will become more important because if a rival develops software which falls within the "claims" of a registered patent it will infringe. A patent being a monopoly right.
Copyright will, of course, still be very relevant to the data and content held within and displayed by the software. These will still be capable of being copied and copyright will be still be the right used to enforce.
Patents are expensive to prosecute and will preclude the small software developers from obtaining them particularly when you need a patent in each country you want protection.
Do we need a global software patent to safely protect investment in cloud applications?
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