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EU Software patent bill thrown out

From the BBC (link [1])


The European Parliament voted 648 to 14 to reject the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive. … Hi-tech firms supporting the directive said it was vital to protect the fruits of their research and development.

Opponents said, if passed, the bill would lead to the patenting of software which would jeopardise the prospects of small firms and open source developers. …

The bill was intended to sweep away individual EU nations’ patent dispute systems in favour of one common procedure. … Dr John Collins, a partner at patent attorney Marks & Clerk said the decision was not a victory for opoonents of software patents. “Today’s outcome is a continuation of inconsistency and uncertainty with regard to software patenting across the EU,” he said. The anti-piracy Business Software Alliance said it would have welcomed harmonisation of European patent laws and the decision marked a time for reflection. …

More than 1,700 Europe-wide companies, represented by the Free Information Infrastructure UK (FFII-UK), joined the plea for the European Union to reject any law which patents software. The FFII-UK and many others feared the that the passing of the bill would lead to Europe following the US and allowing business processes to be patented[emphasis mine]. This has led to online store Amazon patenting and protecting its one-click shopping system.

Big technology firms, such as Philips, Nokia, Microsoft, Siemens, and telecoms firm Ericsson, continued to voice their support for the original bill.

Why, if an idea is bad, would anyone want to be consistent about it? (Except, of course, the “big technology firms” for whom it’s not such a bad idea at all.)