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  1. Software is both human-readable and computer executable and this makes it unique among patentable artefacts. The requirement that a patentable invention should make ``a technical contribution'' leads to unnatural descriptions of software inventions and to inadequate claims.

  2. There is a need for a patent life cycle that can be used to better understand the patenting process; in this paper we propose such a life cycle. Since software developers work worldwide, the patent life cycle should abstract from specific patenting regimes (EU, US, Japan).

  3. We propose software life cycles that are patent-aware (defensive), patent-based (offensive), and IPR-based (includes copyright, patents and secrecy). They are needed to reconcile software engineering practices with the patenting system.

  4. Adopting any patent-related software life cycle increases the costs of software development.

  5. The fact that patenting of certain computer implemented inventions might be reasonable should be considered independently from the implications of pure software patents. New forms for the protection of software inventions should be studied.

Paul Klint 2006-05-22