Software patents: dead in Europe

In other good news, over on BoingBoing, Cory is telling us that Euro software patents are dead:

The European Parliament voted 648 to 14 to reject the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive.

The bill was reportedly rejected because, politicians said, it pleased no-one in its current form.

Responding to the rejection the European Commission said it would not draw up or submit any more versions of the original proposal.

This is excellent news, though as Cory goes on to say,

Software patents have been staked through the heart before, but they keep rising from the grave. There’s too much monopoly rent waiting to be extracted by anti-competitive companies for them to simply give up and go home. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

A year or so ago the number one or two hit on Google for “software patents” was an article by an old friend of mine, John Gray, who is a Patent Attorney, in favour of them.  With well-reasoned arguments, as I recall.  Sadly the article appears to have gone now, though links to it remain.  Such is one of the weaknesses of the web, unfortunately, when you can’t trust (some) publishers to keep their URLs pointing at something.

Update: asajeffrey found a mailing list post that, if not John’s article that I was thinking of, certainly discusses the same ideas.  Thanks, Alan.  Note that I am not the “Martin” referred to in that post.


  1. Yes, that’s teriffic news. The situation here with software (and especially business process) patents is pretty bad. One-click shopping patent, grrr…

    I was buying plants for our flower boxes the other day and discovered that one of the descriptions had text to the effect of “this plant is under patent: you are licensed to grow it, but if you even so much as think of taking a cutting, we will send the boys round.”

    • Please tell me you’re joking…

      But I suspect you’re not. I know that patenting organisms is one of the reasons why big business is so keen on genetic modification; and one of the reasons to be against it, but not the reason why most people are.

      • ‘Fraid not. It’s quite common to see “under patent” signs on crop fields over here, but this is the first time I’d seen it on a garden plant. I didn’t buy it, in case you were wondering…

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