"We need to recognise that software is a material — you can make inventions from that material," Mitchell said at the event, held to discuss the recent Hargreaves report into intellectual property law. "It's like wood, it's like paper, so why have some artificial limitation?"
Mitchell complained that "hardly anyone" submitted evidence to Ian Hargreaves before he published the report. The report called for the UK to resist allowing software patents in order to avoid "thickets" of patents building up around commonly-used technology.
"[Hargreaves] seems not to have noticed that quite a lot of SMEs who did respond said there's no UK system in place for patent enforcement. In the G8, this is the only country that has no penalties in place for patent infringement," Mitchell said.