Israel in danger of software patents

(Bilski coverage will continue tomorrow)

The Israeli Patent Office (IPO) has launched a consultation on whether or not to allow software patents, with a February 2010 deadline. I’ve put the details at the end of this post, but first some background.

  • The IPO consistently rejects software patents and business method patents. Examples:
    • The 2005 rejection of the 142049 website patent
    • The September 2006 rejection of the 131733 sales coupons patent
  • Patent Attorney Ehud Hausman, with the support of international pro-swpat lobby group AIPPI, has been trying since 2007 to change this.
  • He claimed in May 2008 to have partly convinced the IPO to grant software patents (but no change on business method patents). I’ve no third-party confirmation of this.

I’ve been documenting the situation on the en.swpat.org wiki, if you can help, please do:

If Hausman succeeds, this will be very profitable for his patent lawyer colleagues , but disastrous for software compatibility, for technical progress, for people who make websites, for people who write software and costly for all businesses that use computers.

From a blog post (no responsibility for accuracy accepted), the important details for submissions are:

they are limited to four sides with one-and-a-half line spacing, and probably should be in Hebrew … The deadline for filing responses is 15 February 2010. … the briefs should be sent to Lihi ZuAretz – LihiZ [at] justice.gov.il, or mailed to her at the Israel Patent Office.

There seems to be a lot of common sense in the IPO, so please:

  • Help contact people in Israel who would be interested in raising awareness on this or even making a submission. ESP’s submissions on previous cases such as our Bilski supreme court brief could be used as a starting point, and there’s more info on http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Arguments.
  • Help document the situation on http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Israel
  • Use the comments section of this news item to discuss this topic for everyone’s benefit. If anyone has an official link to the consultation, please post that.