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Title: The future of the small software firm : a case for the proper balance of laws protecting software and competition
Author: Walsh, Jacqueline Susan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 2360
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2013
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The software industry is a significant economic driver of innovation for many sectors in both the US and EU. Small software firms make important contributions to innovations that advance the progress of technology. Using the competitive principles of fostering innovation, ensuring economic efficiency and promoting consumer welfare, this paper examines how intellectual property laws and competition policy in both the US and the EU are undermining the future success of the software industry. In software sectors, the small software firm is faced with insurmountable challenges due to the improper use of existing copyright and patent laws to protect the unique characteristics of software. Although the argument for sui generis legislation is not new, evidence is mounting which suggests that small software firms will become increasingly non-competitive without substantial legal reform. The divide between large and small firm participation in the intellectual property system continues to grow. The characteristics that make the software industry important to consumers - network effects, interoperability and standardization - are also the characteristics which will ultimately harm consumer welfare by the reduction of innovative products and services. While large firms are able to overcome major obstacles present in the industry through patent portfolios and cross-licensing arrangements, small firms are precluded from activities that ensure their ability to compete in the global industry. A sui generis software law is not a real possibility today, but a second tier patent approach to solving this market failure deserves further research and consideration. Competition law provides limited potential to support the small software firm, but a major shift in policy will be required for it to become an effective regulatory tool. The EU is far better positioned to be the leader in including small firms in the competitive analysis of dynamic industries such as software.
Supervisor: Cygan, Adam Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available