EU votes "No" to Software Patents !

In what can be said to be a very important decision, the EU parlement has voted ‘No’ to american-style software patents, maintaining the current existing legislation for each country.

On the one hand you have the big European companies saying it is a missed opportunity, as they feel they cannot hold their own against the patent-might of some big US companies without their own patents.

“There is important innovation coming out of the software industry,” Steve Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, said in Paris today before the parliament vote. “We think that innovation needs to be protected.”

On the other hand are the small developers and companies that feel they should not have to deal with embroilment in patentwars with big corporations, anywhere.

Advocates of so-called open-source software, such as the Linux operating system, had lobbied the parliament to restrict software patents because of concerns the EU would follow the U.S. approach, which gives patent protection to software and ideas such as Internet pop-up advertising. Patents can leave open-source developers and users vulnerable to infringement claims for inadvertently distributing patented methods.

I don’t believe that it will stifle innovation, as the big companies say. Rather the reverse, in fact. As what will happen to the American patent system, I wonder how long it can continue to exist in its current form ?

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