Tim Kitchin, BCS Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager, looks at software patents because, whether you love them or hate them, they affect businesses of all sizes that are using and developing software and the recent ‘phone wars’ have illustrated the various ways in which software patents can be used.

A patent provides a monopoly, typically for 20 years, to prevent others using an invention. Patents are often therefore viewed as an aggressive tool to defend a market and this has clearly been seen in the phone wars.

It is not surprising to see Nokia, long dominant in the mobile phone market and seeing its market share eroded by strong entrants into the mobile phone market in recent years, amongst the phone ...

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