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Which is fantastic! patenting software is like patenting notes or chords in music - it would stifle inovation and make small software businesses fight against the likes of M$ and IBM.
In Europe software is protected by copyright - the way it should be.
Summary is that the present system allows for pattent applications but is truly crap as there are few consistent rules and waaaay to much power is left in the hands of minor bureaucrats. This doesn't change.
This law would have clarified issues and actually limited a lot of opportunities to try for patents. Get past all the hooohaaa and Open Source crowd shot themselves in their non-patented feet.
Same could be said for business groups as for now, due to innner Brussels politics, it's unlikely to come back in any form soon. Parliament brutaly rejected this one.
Shame that everyone loses.
This is not the best possible outcome (which would've been an amended directive)
but it'll do the trick.[from the groklaw article, comment. That seems to sum it up pretty well]
"There is important innovation coming out of the software industry,'' Steve Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, said in Paris today before the parliament vote. "We think that innovation needs to be protected.''
I will translate for you. I take that to mean: they would like to be protected from innovation by others.
Have a little story for you.
I own half a company in EU. Basically we have a search related software relevant to the lobbyist field. We of course didn't take a patent in the EU. I moved to US for 1.5 years (for unrelated matters)and had to get a Visa. To do that I had to setup an american division of that specific company. The lawyers would NOT let me talk about the VISA nor the company until we had a painful hour conversation on patents.
In Europe, we just don't get into detail and we know that no one will try to copy as they can't really copy our idea for now - our behind the scenes is not likely to be copied. Even if someone did, I'd prefer to spend the energy on competing on the strenghts of our ideas and marketing.
In the US we'd have had to give away our secrets and CREATE competition. Then lose anyway if someone with a big lawyer got behind it. Strenght of patent = $ in lawyers that you can spend.
So yeah, I agree that the present EU setup has it hands down on USA for us little guys. But that's because of a lower tolerance for IP lawyers though, not due to the law.
Without the patent we do have to be uber careful how much we talk about back end (or else give up rights). I still think that the EU would have been better with the law, but can't be "£$£ to argue it in detail :-)
So the fight against software patents isn't over yet.
Boycot software that uses patents!