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EU Says No To Software Patents

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the break-out-the-champagne dept.

Patents 525

Moggie68 writes "European parliament has . struck down the proposal for a directive that would have brought US-style software patents into EU." Here's another story on the decision.

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525 comments

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Yes we did it (-1, Redundant)

Freidenker (722292) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993247)

no text

Next: the US (5, Informative)

sofar (317980) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993324)


NOW is the time for everyone in the USA to start protesting against the same practices in the US. No software patents anywhere!

(Of course, the US will lose significant competition against european companies who will be much more at liberty to innovate... this hurts YOUR business)

Re:Next: the US (4, Insightful)

team99parody (880782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993434)

After all, hasn't the US's position all along been that "harmonization"!

In order to compete with Europe, I think "harmonization" with their patent policies is exactly what we should be fighting for now.

Re:Next: the US (2)

DS_User (874465) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993457)

You forget on major aspect. Micro$oft and other members of the BSA cartel have long ago bought out the Senate. As long as the BSA lobbies(BRIBES) the Senate they will continue to have power. They need to make stronger laws against cartels and ACTUALLY ENFORCE THEM. Funny how when the gas companies were owned by mostly Arabic companies the US wanted to come down on them as hard as possible, but now with gas prices at an all time high with Hitenburg(Cheny's former company[which he may still have influence on]) incharge no one has any problems. Or should I say no one that makes over $200,000 a year. That's the main problem with our country we claim democracy, but its only for the wealthy. Why else is there BS like the DMCA that the Entertainment and software cartels are making a stink about. P.S. Cartel: A group of companies that come together and set prices on certain goods, normally very high. This is suppose to be illegal, but none of the rich previledged companies have been prosecuted yet.

Victory! (5, Interesting)

Christian Engstrom (633834) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993248)

This is almost a total victory for the opponents of software patents.

The patent lobby tried to sneak in software patents through the back door, by claiming that it was only about harmonization, that the directive wouldn't change anything, etc, etc. They failed.

The issue has led to the most intensive lobbying campaign ever in Brussels (from both sides). Whatever their position on the issue "as such" may be, there is not a single member of the European Parliament who now thinks that this is "just a small technical matter that can safely be left to the patent experts to decide on".

If the patent lobby wants to continue working for the legalization of patents on software and business methods (and they will), they will have to engage in a serious debate about the benefit/harm of such patents. And since they don't really have any arguments that can stand scrutiny in daylight, they will have a very difficult time.

Sure, the FFII would have preferred a directive that reaffirmed the ban on software patents in Article 52 [european-p...office.org] of the European Patent Convention, and led to greater harmonization in Europe. Alas, that didn't happen, because the patent lobby got cold feet and preferred to kill the directive rather than risk a vote in Parliament that they would probably have lost.

But at least we didn't get a bad directive that wiped out Article 52 and forced national parliaments to introduce software patents against their will. The situation now is that software patents are illegal in Europe (as they always have been according to the EPC), but that we still have a European Patent Office that needs to be reined in so that it starts to follow the law.

But the law remains unchanged, and computer programs and methods of doing business are not considered patentable inventions.

Today was a great day in the battle for a free and open information infrastructure, and for a favorable business environment in Europe for enterprises that use or produce software.

Not quite (4, Interesting)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993297)

The fact that the law was rejected rather then modified means that the existing patents are still in a legal grey area - look forward to a lot of pressure being put on national governements to pass legislation.

The UK PTO in particular has quite a hard on for patenting, and it is a UK Labour MEP who has been pushing hardest for patents.

Re:Not quite (3, Insightful)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993331)

May be true, from the BBC:
"Patents will continue to be handled by national patent offices ... as before, which means different interpretations as to what is patentable, without any judiciary control by the European Court of Justice," said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, representing the EU head office at the vote.

At least it shows that politicans do not just blindly follow. If this continues, it will be difficult for national politicans to accept something the EU has rejected (more than once, this was a re-write wasn't it?)

Re:Not quite (1)

naich (781425) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993368)

Actually, it means that the interpretation of patent laws is left to the individual patent offices of each country. This directive was supposed to be about harmonising the patent offices of EU member countries.

Re:Not quite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993417)

The fact that the law was rejected rather then modified means that the existing patents are still in a legal grey area
Better in the grey, than in the white.

Re:Not quite (1)

EiZei (848645) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993447)

On the other hand it will be a hell lot harder to push the same thing in tens of national parliaments than in EU itself.

Re:Victory! (4, Insightful)

zaxios (776027) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993298)

Today was a great day in the battle for a free and open information infrastructure, and for a favorable business environment in Europe for enterprises that use or produce software.

Not just that, but it was a great day for European democracy, with the EU's elected body asserting itself totally over the unelected, untransparent Council.

Re:Victory! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993442)

I believe the real crooks here are the Commission, not the Council, but your point is just as valid in that case.

Re:Victory! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993308)

648 votes to 14.

Just think about that for a moment.

648 votes to 14. That's how utterly wrong this bill was. There can't be many bills which have taken such a beating in the history of the EU, can there?

Now as European Citizens it is out duty to write to the 14 fuckwits who voted for the bill and ask them simply "Why?". Then make sure they loose at the next European Elections.

Re:Victory! (1)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993408)

According to Routers, this is the first time in the history of the EU that a directive is rejected in the second reading. Usually this happens in the first reading (if nobody wants to fix that crap, that Commision has put forward) or after the third reading (when all discussion options are exausted).
This time the Parliament had had enough and was so pissed off, that it decided to stop discussion in a half-way.

Re:Victory! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993431)

Now as European Citizens it is out duty to write to the 14 fuckwits who voted for the bill and ask them simply "Why?". Then make sure they loose at the next European Elections.
Make sure they what?

Re:Victory! (5, Informative)

q.kontinuum (676242) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993433)

648 votes to 14. That's how utterly wrong this bill was.

You got it badly wrong here. The voting shows, that it is an important issue and both sides try to play on safety. Both sides voted against the bill.

The anti-patent side because they feard the bill without proposed amendmends.

The pro-patent side because they feard the amendments.

What this voting shows, is two things:
1. It is an important issue, we need a clear bill on this issue!

2. The amendmends would have turned the bill upside down, and since the amendments do nothing but drawing a firm line between software and not software it is very clear, that the pro-patent site wanted software-patents, also they always claimed they want to exclude software from patent law.

Postponement, not a victory. (1)

GuyWithLag (621929) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993464)

The fact that so many votes were cast against the directive was only due to the last-minute turnaround of the lobyists. They were seriously afraid of the proposed amendments[0], to the point that they killed the directive instead of taking the chance that it would be modified.

[0] Amendment no.21, as co-sponsored by IBM, states that a patent's description must be sufficiently complete so that it can be used...

Re:Victory! (5, Insightful)

neillewis (137544) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993392)

Yes, I would urge caution in seeing this as a victory for the anti-patent side. It is clear that the pro-patent side was willing to see this bill killed off rather that have the FFII's amendments voted into law.

The patent lobbyists will be back, if not in the EU then in every national parliament. Congratulations to the FFII, in stopping this and putting the spotlight on the software patent issue. It's a huge achievement.But this is only the first battle.

It's worth a lot of money to Microsoft and front organisations like the BSA to shut down competition using patents, hopefully with the issue now more widely known they will find it increasingly difficult to spread lies and buy off politicians.

Re:Victory! (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993394)

This is almost a total victory for the opponents of software patents.

It's good news, but I wouldn't count on the enemies of technology giving up. Software patents will be introduced in the EU parliament again and again, until they get passed. Don't underestimate the patience of bureacrats and corporations.

-jcr

This is truely... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993250)

a day to celebrate a major victory for freedom and innovation everywhere.

Victory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993253)

Finally a victory for open source and free software in Europe! ;-)

Re:Victory (5, Insightful)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993289)

This is not just a victory for opensource. Companies will have more room to reverse engineer software. This will also benefit closed source companies! everyone wins.

Personally my only problem with software patents is the length. I think that an 18-36 month patent is reasonable but anything over that is not.

It ain't over untill the fat lady sings. (4, Insightful)

Underholdning (758194) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993254)

Ok so the current score is 1-0 to the good guys, but I'm pretty sure the game isn't over yet...

Don't forget the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993310)

I actually think the score is 1-1

Re:It ain't over untill the fat lady sings. (1)

bloblu (891170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993345)

Well, I didn't follow the whole story, but the score is rather something like 9-8 for the good guys.

And the match is not over. The bad guys are patients, and they'll come back. This is what is strange about those reforms in Europe: they have a hard time getting accepted, but once accepted, you're locked forever...

Re:It ain't over untill the fat lady sings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993356)

actually, 648 - 14 to the good guys

Re:It ain't over untill the fat lady sings. (4, Insightful)

Tonnerre (891997) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993357)

2003, 2005: that's actually 2-0

Tonnerre

Re:It ain't over untill the fat lady sings. (1)

SlashDread (38969) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993358)

Tha Fat lady sang, digested and had a stool.

The whole directive is outta the window. The only possible new patent law has to be drafted, discussed and re-introduced -from scratch-.

Re:It ain't over untill the fat lady sings. (2, Insightful)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993412)

The game is never over. Eternal vigilence and all that.

Re:It ain't over untill the fat lady sings. (1)

muszek (882567) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993422)

actually, the score is 648 to 14 ;)

Re:It ain't over untill the fat lady sings. (1)

SeekerDarksteel (896422) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993432)

Maybe in Europe it's 1-0. Over here in America we're still getting the shit knocked out of us.

Good luck to you guys over there. Maybe efforts in Europe towards eliminating software patents will help lead the flawed American system in the right direction. I can only hope and pray for the day that people can actually make vibrating controllers or pan cameras in 3-D freely.

One word (0)

codepoetix (858482) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993256)

W00t!

The score (5, Funny)

RootsLINUX (854452) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993257)

The so-called software patent directive, rejected by a 648-14 vote with 18 abstentions, would have given companies EU-wide patent protection for computerized inventions ranging from programs for complex CAT scanners to ABS car-brake systems.

PWNED!!!

Re:The score (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993313)

It just LOOKS impressive because Big Business decided to voted down their own directive.

I think we can be fairly sure something even more sinister is lurking in the shadows.

Re:The score (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993383)

Why the fuck is this +3 insightful??

Historic day for Europe! (4, Insightful)

LynXmaN (4317) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993258)

Congratulations to the http://www.ffii.org/ [ffii.org] and all the European citizens!

Today we're a bit closer to freedom :)

Re:Historic day for Europe! (5, Insightful)

PintoPiman (648009) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993388)

Today we're a bit closer to freedom :)

Not to rain on the parade or anything, but aren't we exactly as close as before? I mean it's still exciting that we aren't further from freedom than yesterday...

~p

Beach Invasion Normandy (1)

mrbass (742021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993260)

I knew they had hearts and thought of this as an alien invasion of their civil rights like in the 1950s.

Well done!! (5, Insightful)

seti (74097) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993262)

Congratulations to the FFII [ffii.org] for all their hard work and patience campaigning against the directive!!! These people deserve all the support they can get.

For the time being I can rest assured that working as a programmer I do not have to watch my every statement.

Re:Well done!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993410)

For the time being I can rest assured that working as a programmer I do not have to watch my every statement.



Really? I won't be buying your code then.



Victory against software patents. (1)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993269)

It was a hard job, but we made it!

"Open source lobbies beat professional lobbies 100:0" - says an MEP

Note (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993270)

Although this definitely counts as a victory, it's not the best of all possible outcomes.
That would have been having the right amendments accepted, turning a bad law into a good one. (And having the law in place for all of the EU would have meant that it'd be impossible for the big software lobby to still push this through in individual countries, something which they're now likely to try.)

The battle has been won, but the war is far from over.

Is it over? I doubt it, but we're closing in (4, Insightful)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993272)

From the article on BBC [bbc.co.uk] :
Responding to the rejection the European Commission said it would not draw up or submit any more versions of the original proposal. .

Sounds like excellent news, but I doubt they'll give it up just yet, but this is a major setback (another one) for them.

good for the third world too (1)

LosManos (538072) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993275)

hejdig.

Besides begin good for EU and Europe it is also good for the Third World where cheap things can make a big difference towards democracy.

/OF

WOW!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993276)

BIG DAY!

lol, my first post on slashdot :)

For those saying this was a "total victory" (2, Interesting)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993278)

Read the comments by the proponents of software patents. They view this as a minor setback in their quest for software patents.

This will be back for consideration, and sooner than most people realize.

Next Step... (1)

essence (812715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993279)

.....abolish the G8!

Why? (1)

KrunZ (247479) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993421)

Seriously: why?

First (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993280)

I'm the first

Re:First (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993332)

The first what?!? Missed the boat there methinks.

Unfortunately... (4, Interesting)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993281)

The individual countries can still regulate their own software patents, and this measure only made it so there is no EU wide guideline for sw patents.

What we really need is a directive to *ban* software patents on the EU level...

EU Press Release (5, Informative)

Pablo El Vagabundo (775863) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993282)



Here is a link to the offical EU press Release:

http://www2.europarl.eu.int/omk/sipade2?PUBREF=-// EP//TEXT+PRESS+DN-20050705-1+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&L=EN &LEVEL=2&NAV=X&LSTDOC=N#SECTION1 [eu.int]

Some really good comments in there from some clued in and angry MEPs...

Pablo

A great day to be living in Europe for sure (1)

Thorwak (836943) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993284)

Of course there will be more coming, but the Europeans at least showed they won't sit quiet and just let this happen.

Great! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993287)

Glad to hear so!

Power to the Parliament! (2, Insightful)

rvw (755107) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993290)

So it turns out the EU Parliament has power, and actually can stop the EU Commission. I wonder how this would have turned out if the EU constitution in France and Netherlands wasn't rejected. I think this was a good moment for EU Parliament to show their muscle.

Re:Power to the Parliament! (1)

tcornelissen (897694) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993349)

That's wat I wrote to the Dutch EMP's. I assumed they care more about there own job than they do about mine.

Re:Power to the Parliament! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993454)

Unlikely to have made much difference. The important parts of the constitution strengthened the hand of the parliament. In the current situation the Council of Ministers has too much power by comparison with the parliament.

The EU Rocks! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993292)

The EU rocks. The average European is smart and brave. The average american is a flag-waving lardo.

10 reasons why the US is hated all over the world.

1. The US has started (and "encouraged") more wars and murdered more
humans in a 50 year period than anyone else before in recorded
history.

2.The world constantly watches images of starving children whilst in
the US people are dying of over eating.

3. The US boasts that it has spent billions on being able to bomb
anyone, anywhere on the planet. Meanwhile starvation, and premature
death continue to affect millions of people worldwide whose only crime
was being born where they were.

4 The US makes virtuous speeches about fairness, liberty and justice
then continues to enact policies designed to keep a third of the world
in a state of constant starvation. For example, The US purposely
stopped the supply of cheap non-brand Aids drugs to Africa just to
placate the drugs industry. As a result millions will die who could
have been saved.

5. The continual support by the US of regimes that oppress their
people so that other US parties can gain an economic foothold.

6 The American belief that profit is all. People don't count.

7. American hypocrisy. ( I feel most of us in this NG could write a
book on this one but I'll keep it short)
Virtue, honesty, truth. None of these mean anything when US economic
advantage is at stake. We have watched the US invade and murder
thousands all in the name of "regime change" or "protecting US
economic interests" in various countries. If they haven't been there
pulling the triggers you can be sure they paid for one sides (or both)
weapons.

There isn't a continent on this planet that the US aren't killing
people directly or indirectly. Even their own yet the US tells the
rest of the world that they cannot have weapons that kill
indiscriminately. ( the US has once again refused to stop using
cluster bombs and uranium tipped shells) and is the only country to
have used nuclear weapons and poison gases to kill thousands of
people.

8. The continual military support of Israel and it's attempted
genocide of the Palestinian people. Once again, humans die to protect
US economic advantage.

9 The insane belief that most Americans in this NG espouse that we
(the rest of the world) are jealous. That somehow we are not affected
by the murder and slaughter committed by US troops all over the globe.
That somehow, other humans , i.e us, should not criticise the US govt
for the same reasons Americans don't. WRONG. We are not blinded by
your flag If anything the US has taught us a lot about the dangers of
blind loyalty backed only by a flag. Your govt kills innocents then
hides behind the flag and you idiots buy it all.

10. The worst criminals in all this are the US electorate because they
are the only ones who can stop this slaughter but they refuse to
acknowledge their govt has done any wrong. Even with 90% of the world
screaming for the US to stop killing , the electorate do nothing. You
just sit there, hiding behind the flag or using any excuse your govt
has given you to justify the continual slaughter of innocents.

So don't ask me why America is so hated. I find it more interesting
to know how the world will respond eventually to a country that is
nothing but evil. And respond we will.

Re:The EU Rocks! (1)

akruppa (300316) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993393)

Please keep idiotic flame baits out of this thread. Thank you.

Alex (a European, and a proud one today)

VLC (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993293)

Perhaps this will mean the banner [videolan.org] that has existed on VideoLAN's site for the last several months can finally go away... (previous slashdot coverage [slashdot.org] )

United We Stand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993294)

Thanks to everyone who wrote to their MEP and applied pressure. We must be at least as well organised because the opposition will never give up and we will never surrender!!

Effect of activism? (1)

moz25 (262020) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993295)

I'm curious to know which effect petitions and campaigning has had on this decision. To an extent, it seems to be a bit of internal power struggle as well: "The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) says the rejection is a logical response to the Commission and Council's refusal to take parliament's will into consideration."

Re:Effect of activism? (4, Informative)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993372)

That is ONLY because FFII put it up like that and only because FFII alerted MEPs about the importance of this directive in the first place.
If it weren't for FFII, this directive would be accepted two years ago. I've followed this debate from the first proposal of the Commision: if Hartmut Pilch wouldn't have been there - nobody would have even noticed or understood the implications of this directive.
FFII has proven to be more mature and professional then the professional EU lobbies, that have been doing this for decades. I am so glad to be on this team and to see this historical victory.

Pictures of the demonstration! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993301)

Pictures of the demonstration on tuesday:

http://gallery.ffii.org/Strasbourg050705 [ffii.org]

Wow. (4, Interesting)

colonslashslash (762464) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993303)

The vote to scrap the bill was passed by a margin of 648 votes to 14, with 18 abstentions.

That's a pretty big majority. To be honest, I expected the bill to slip through, or at least be a pretty close call either way based on what people have been telling me about the responses they have recieved from their MEPs.

I realise this wasn't really the best outcome, but it's a damn sight better than seeing that brutal directive sneak it's way into EU law.

Re:Wow. (2, Interesting)

sydb (176695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993365)

What have you been hearing from people about their MEPs? I wrote to the seven MEPs who represent my area (Scotland) and had replies from four (IIRC). All the replies were against the directive, one of them strongly (and optimistically) so.

Re:Wow. (1)

colonslashslash (762464) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993424)

I've spoken to a few people who have written letters or placed phone calls to various MEPs, and the majority of them have told me that the MEPs have seemed uninterested in what they had to say, or appeared to side with the swpatent lobbyists.

It was all second-hand information of course, but that led me to believe that it would be a much closer margin than 648 - 14. Obviously, they were wrong in their assumptions, or they spoke to the handful of MEP's that voted for the directive.

No WOW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993387)

That's a pretty big majority.

It's a big majority because the Evil Overlords decided to VOTE DOWN THEIR OWN PROPOSAL! See.. they're already winning. People is starting to believe.. "wow, what a great victory, there's no chance of this happening now with THOSE numbers", and forget about the ETERNAL VIGILANCE that is needed to stop this idiocy.

When the other player folds his $2-pot hand, it's not a great victory, no matter HOW good cards you have.

SSHHHHEEEESSSHH!

Because pro-sw-pat MEPs also voted for rejection (1)

poszi (698272) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993441)

That's a pretty big majority

That's because pro-sw-pat MEPs realized that they will not win and that amendments that will explicitly ban them may be intruduced. So they changed their position for keeping the status-quo. It's only a small defeat for them now.

The real majority of anti-sw-pat MEPs was very small.

I think I speak for most of us when I say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993304)

WOOT! We did it!

Honestly, I never believed this would happen. It's amazing! It almost makes me a little sappy -- all those people who voluntarily wrote their representatives, those who shut down their websites (me included) in protest (and put the banner up in their place), etc. -- we actually made a difference. How else to explain this?

Amazing. And great!

Another article... (1)

(pvb)charon (685001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993311)

... in German by Spiegel Online [spiegel.de] charon

It's possible that certain types of patents are ba (5, Informative)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993314)

From the article:

"You don't patent a mathematical formula, for software is merely a connection of a mathematical formula," said Michel Rocard, the former French Prime Minister who was in charge of steering the parliament debate.

Rocard, a deputy for the Socialist group, said patents worth tens of billions of dollars (euros) were potentially at stake and, in terms of impact on businesses, the bill was the most important piece of legislation the assembly has ever dealt with.


The patent system seems to work best when patents cover things. It seems to cause real damage when it covers such things as mathematical knowledge and software. Broader than just those two, though, is the application of patents to "systems" wherein the thing being patented is just a step of instructions. It is a far cry from a tangible item to a way to do something.

Some 178 amendments to the bill were tabled by lawmakers before the vote. In the end parliament decided to vote down the law, fearing the amendments would dilute it and make it an inadequate compromise.

"It was a mess. Better no directive than a bad directive," said Tony Robinson, spokesman for the Socialists.


Unfortunately, that seems to mean that the topic may come up again, only in a more streamlined and possibly more palatable bill. It is nice that OSS advocates are crying foul against the patent system, but the real change will come when private businesses understand the threat posed by an all-encompassing patent system.

Re:It's possible that certain types of patents are (1, Funny)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993354)

"You don't patent a mathematical formula, for software is merely a connection of a mathematical formula"

More proof that the people making the decisions don't know what they are doing. Software is not a derivative of a mathmatical formula. This isn't 1940 where computers are simply solving math problems.
Software development and mathematics diverged a long time ago. They have virtually nothing in common anymore.

Re:It's possible that certain types of patents are (2, Insightful)

Cyphertube (62291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993411)

Except that the underpinnings of all the abstractions the average programmer uses are mathematically based.

I don't think we can patent the basics of logic either, so even when the syntax actually doesn't have any numbers, it's basic reasoning is still mathematical.

And honestly, I can't think of an actual programming language that doesn't use mathematical operators of some kind. Even VBScripting uses it in some bastardised fashion.

It sounds like the ostrich head-in-the-sand argument. I can't see it, hence it doesn't exist.

Yes!!!!!! (1)

uprock_x (855650) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993325)

Big congratulations to all those who fought for this.

Finally some good news today

Please provide name and location of the 14... (1)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993329)

We would like to play the Kevin Bacon's game with those 14. If they are found connected to Microsoft or other pro-patent monopolies - I suppose google bugsmear [userfriendly.org] could help. Same action if ignorance and/or apathy detected.

Yeah!!! (1)

ratta (760424) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993337)

Luckily i will not have to feel ashamed of being european (i already have to feel ashamed of being italian, for many reasons).

The black list? (4, Interesting)

EiZei (848645) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993351)

Anybody got a list of those MEPs who voted in favour of this? Just want to make sure there are no familiar names.

Too bad the EU constitution was rejected, it would have given more power to parliament instead of the comission which is composed of appointed bureaucrats instead of elected representatives.

It's not quite yet over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993352)

They will still try to get through a modified version of the directive. The thing is, that the original version of the parliament (which will most likely be proposed) was actually quite decent. It wouldn't hurt OSS or small to medium sized corporations at all. So in the end, this probably was the final victory we needed.

Mixed blessing (3, Insightful)

Mjlner (609829) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993355)

On the one hand, it is very good that US-style software patents have not been forced down our throats with this directive. On the other hand, individual member countries are still free to legalise software patents, if they want to. For the pro-patent lobby, this is a much better result than a possibly amended directive that would explicitly outlaw software patents in the EU. The anti-patent lobby still has much to do.

One very good outcome of this is that the average European Joe Schmoe is now more aware of the issue and the MEPs are more aware of the sentiments within the industry. No more will the pro-patent lobby be able to sneak software patents in through the back door. That, in itself, is a huge victory.

A huge thanks to everybody who helped defeat the directive, be it with a single short e-mail to an MEP or actively spending hundreds of hours on the issue.
Thank you!

Re:Mixed blessing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993445)

On the other hand, individual member countries are still free to legalise software patents, if they want to

Well, they're not, exactly. The european patent convention still says software isn't patentable. Patent lawyers have been trying to weasel around that by odd interpretations of "software as such", but on the whole, it's still hard (but not impossible) for them to persuade a national government to go against a reasonable person's reading of the relevant EU treaties. And even if a particular nation did try to implement software patents, a patent case could well be appealed all the way and potentially end up with the patent shot down: that's a reason why businesses are afraid to enforce the illegitmately-granted software patents some currently hold in various EU nations.

Well not exactly a No to patents (1)

Klact-oveeseds-tene (780969) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993364)

... because it's only a No to the proposed legislation. Even MEPs who favour software patents voted No, because they prefered to have no directive instead of one that restricts patentability. Unfortunately software patents do exist in Europe (more than 30000) and they can be used to menace IT companies, as there is always the risk that a judge interprets the patent law the same way as the patent offices who granted the patents. So the discussion is not over yet. Probably it will go on in the European Patent Office, controlled by 30 governments.

Hurray (2, Interesting)

torboth (179564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993381)

This is just brilliant. I had a the honor of having one of my photos used in the anti patents posters. I am very happy that someone has made them see sense.

Today we made history... (2, Insightful)

Szaman2 (716894) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993382)

We made history today. This day will be remebered as the day when Europe dodged the bullet. Few more years, and all technological progres will grind down to a full stop here in the US and we technologically clueful people will all have to go look for jobs elsewhere. Pereferably a place where we will not be sued for infringing on trivial patents...

Two very important things about this issue (0)

Marc2k (221814) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993396)

Ok, well...one, the first is that this is a dupe [slashdot.org] with different references.

The second is that, as has been mentioned in the other story, this is a Kind-Of Bad Thing(c). Again, if this bill would have been rewritten to take out the "bad" amendments, this would have been great news. However, all they did was decline a law which unilaterally allowed EU patents, not explicitly prohibit them, and thus since there is no EU legislation on software patents, individual countries reserve the right to allow or deny them.

At least, that's what I gathered from the other article.

NOT a dupe (2, Insightful)

CharonX (522492) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993446)

Yesterday's article said that most MEP would probably vote NO - but the vote was only done today.
Thus, there existed the chance that they might get a change of heart etc. and vote YES instead...
We already had prematurely celebrated the Patent Directive dead once already - when Sweden etc. said it wanted to move it from a A-point to a B-point, but then was basically ignored by the Council during the meeting - and the Directive was passed to the EP for second reading.
NOW we can say that the Directive, in its current form, is dead.

Not a dupe (1)

68kmac (471061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993460)

Ok, well...one, the first is that this is a dupe with different references.

No, it's not a dupe. That other story was about yesterday's development that the members of the EU parliament seemed to unite on the side of those that are opposed to software patents.

Today, and that's what this story is about, they really shot down software patents. So after several months of back and forth, this is really the end of the initiative to introduce software patents in the EU.

Huzzah ! (1)

Exaton (523551) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993413)

At least one good thing today. I'm glad it's something as important as this, because it goes a long way towards alleviating the pain.

Yeah, I live in Paris.

No victory, just unresolved (4, Insightful)

Penguin (4919) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993420)

This isn't a "victory over patents", it just means that the situation isn't resolved.

EPO (the European Patent Office) still have given out several thousands patents for software (and they continue to do so). These are not void until they are tried individually in court.

Så, basically there could be three results:

1. The directive was accepted with the possibility of software patents (which would be preferred for pro-patent-people)

2. The directive was accepted without the possibility of software patents (which would be preferred for con-patent-people)

3. The directive was dropped

The latter is the case. So there are no general guidelines. Of course this still means that bunch of patents wouldn't hold in court, but that road is much longer than a general guideline preventing the patents in the first place.

What?! This can't be! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993436)

How many bribes does it take to buy a politician on this continent?

This is not over. I'll buy the votes of every damn politician in the world if I have to. We will have patents, by God! We will have patents!

Bring in the lawyers! Bring in the bruisers! We'll get it right next time!

Bwaaa-ha-ha-haaa....

-- Faceless Software IP Corporation

A victory for common sense more like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993438)


i mean patenting buisness methods ? ways of doing buisness ? you would have to be fncking nuts to even suggest it, next they will want people to vote their goverments into power by using an electronic machine
iam glad common sense still prevails in some parts of the world

Communism (-1, Troll)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993440)

This is the first wrinkle of the return of communism. I implore my fellow European white bretheren to stamp out the evil practice of communism. The people who supported being against software patents hate your freedom! They want to fund terrorist groups with intellectual property currency. Just imagine if guns were free. The terrorists would win.

Don't feed the Troll (n/t) (0, Offtopic)

CharonX (522492) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993476)

(no text)

Great day (1)

linuxci (3530) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993448)

A great day for the UK (London getting the olympics) and great for the rest of Europe too (this bill overturned)

Thats one piece of Good news (1)

Insipid Trunculance (526362) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993451)

I think people are getting tired of the present crop of autocratic leaders - Schroeder, Chirac, Blair , Berlusconi et al.

For far too long , they have imposed their will over the people of Europe and they have been able to get away because there werent any alternatives.

But now we realize that we have just been feeding their megalomania.Beginning with the 2005 General Elections in Britain and the Referendum in France the people have made clear that the present european leadership is not in tune with their wishes.

And this defeat is a realization by MEP's that ultimately , its us , the people who vote them into office.

Congratulations all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12993455)

We finally did it! My best congratulations to you all, and let us celebrate and remember this day. :-)

Thank you!

- http://www.fsfeurope.org/ [fsfeurope.org]
- http://www.ffii.org/ [ffii.org]

Europe rules... (2, Insightful)

hoborocks (775911) | more than 9 years ago | (#12993456)

Man....now moving to Europe sounds even better. I won't be prosecuted for "developing" one-click shopping.

Thank god there's somewhere that understands what's going on.

P.S. I'm a Computer Science major, who's intending to go on to law school...does anyone have any suggestions where to go? I'm looking for a good school with a strong department in intellectual property/patent law/internet law/etc...I'm also looking for proximity to large cities (especially NYC and DC)...
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