Wednesday, July 06, 2005

[CLICK] "FIRE!" - EU PARLIMENT KILLS "SOFTWARE" BILL - The European Parliament has defeated the CII patent directive in a landslide vote - 648 MEPs out of 680 voted today to reject the proposal.

Some of the stupidity the parliment is promoting:

- The legislation is not so much about "software" patents as it is about EU harmonization: the EPO currently allows software patents, but the various member countries all have different standards for what is patentable subject matter. Thus, you could feasibly get an EPO patent on an algorithm, only to have it invalidated in your own country. The hysteria over the EU "adopting a US-style system" is a bunch of hooey.

- Nobody really knows what is patentable any more in the EU. Many countries, including the EPO have conflicting rulings on what type of claimed subject matter is patentable. It is often the case that one patent application with a particular set of claims will be rejected, while another, with a seemingly identical disclosure, will be allowed. Most of the EU practitioners I talk to are pulling their hair out over this.

- If you think the EU hates the US now, wait until some of these companies try selling their software products in the US market (yes, even over the Internet). The best part is that, by the time EU companies expand overseas, they will be cash-laden enough to perk the ears of plaintiff's attorneys eager to jump all over them.

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