Wednesday, 6 Jul 2005

Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure:

The European Parliament today decided by a large majority (736 members, 680 votes, 645 yes, 14 No, 18 abstentions) to reject the directive “on the patentability of computer implemented inventions,” also known as the software patent directive. This rejection was the logical answer to the Commission’s refusal to restart the legislative process in February and the Council’s reluctance to take the will of the European Parliament and national parliaments into account. The FFII congratulates the European Parliament on its clear “No” to bad legislative proposals and procedures.

Almost everyone showed up to vote – a rarity in and of itself. Almost everyone showed up to vote against software patents.

It is hard to describe my relief in words. We have a happy end to many, many months of agony.

Of course, the war is not over. Patents on software will continue to be granted, even though it will not be possible to enforce them. Patent lobbyists will try to expand legislation slowly, boiling the frogs. But we have won a decisive battle in the war, and we are now in a position of strength where the EPO practices can be questioned and attacked.