European parliament says NO to software patents

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Wednesday, July 6, 2005

A controversial patent directive has been thrown out in a landslide vote. 648 MEPs out of 680 voted today to reject the proposal, aimed at bringing Europe in-line with a similar U.S. bill.

"This is a great victory for those who have campaigned to ensure that European innovation and competitiveness is protected from monopolisation of software functionalities and business methods. It marks the end of an attempt by the European Commission and governmental patent officials to impose detrimental and legally questionable practices of the European Patent Office (EPO) on the member states," said the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, in opposition to the directive.

Adversaries to the patent directive claim that a bill covering Intellectual Property (IP) would "stifle innovation" in Europe, as it allows the patenting of implementation within software. Many anti-patent activists say that if the bill were passed, small businesses and hobbyists would be in danger of lawsuit from corporations and their extensive patent portfolios.