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Title: An analysis of the legal protection given to software by copyrights and patents within Europe and the United States
Authors: Mifsud, Philip
Keywords: Software protection -- Law and legislation -- United States
Software protection -- Law and legislation -- European Union countries
Copyright -- Computer programs -- European Union countries
Copyright -- Computer programs -- United States
Patent laws and legislation -- European Union countries
Patent laws and legislation -- United States
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: The concept and problem of software protection is an issue which has been widely discussed in legal circles within Europe and the United States. This thesis will endeavour to provide a critique into the various issues surrounding the legal protection that is afforded to software in today's digital age. The thesis will commence with a brief discussion on the concept of software programs. In this vein, the analysis will focus on the history of the development of software programs and the impetus behind giving adequate protection to software. This study will then focus on the two main regimes that various jurisdictions considered when asserting that software would be protected, namely copyright and patents. Once this has been established, this dissertation will consider the issues relating to software protection through copyright. The examination will focus on what, specifically, can be protected by copyright in a computer program as well as examining the various approaches adopted by the courts in Europe and the United States in an attempt to determine this problematic issue. Following this analysis, this thesis will delve into the rights granted by copyright and notion of the acts which infringe upon copyright but are, nevertheless, allowed both legislatively and judicially. Following this examination of copyright protection within the context of software, this dissertation will focus on patents. After a brief history on patents in general, the focus will move on to the conditions that are necessary for a patent to be granted. In this context the similarities, and differences, between America and Europe will be traced out. Once this has been established, the focus will shift onto the highly debated issue of software patentability. From this perspective, some of the various obstacles that one faces when attempting to patent software will be outlined. This will include both the issues that the European Patent Office, the U.K. courts and the United States courts have faced in determining when software is patentable. Following this analysis, the acts permitted notwithstanding patented software will be determined. The final part of the thesis will focus upon the current debate within the European legal sphere regarding the necessity for a Community patent as well as the efficacy of both patent and copyright protection within the United States and Europe. Attention will then be directed towards another possible solution to the current software protection debate that exists both within Europe and the United States.
Description: LL.D.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacLaw - 2011

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