Despite the increasing harmonization of IP laws, the patenting of software inventions still varies from country to country and is a subject of debate. As opposed to the initial favor shown toward the patenting of computer programs, even in more liberal countries like the US, the general attitude towards said practice seems to be rapidly changing, with positions ranging from slightly amending the patenting standards to more radical solutions. The famous US [Supreme Court] case Alice [Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. 208, 134 S.Ct. 2347 189 L. Ed. 2d 296 (2014) (no. 13-298)] along with the subsequent case law, seems to follow this trend. However, some argue Alice and its progeny have caused more harm than good. This article deals with this issue by analyzing also the often-neglected Japanese patent system and comparing it to those of the US and Europe. The paper will then discuss this comparison in light of the available data and studies regarding patents in general and, more specifically, software patents, in order to understand how changes in policies, statutes and case law influence patenting trends.
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