Software patent directive rejected

A controversial EU directive allowing software patents has been rejected.

The European Parliament decision was made this morning, after a long, bitter
and often ideologically driven debate. Campaigners for and against the directive
have both argued that innovation in the European software market would be
stifled if they did not get their way.

Mark Taylor, a lawyer in Lovell’s technology and communication group said
that it was disappointing that the Parliament had thrown the directive out

‘Europe is now going to be in limbo for a number of years… with different
member states taking differing views on what [patents] should be granted, and
what is enforced,’ he said.

However, opponents of the bill were jubilant that the result had gone their

‘This outcome is a clear victory for open source,’ said Simon Phipps, chief
open source officer at Sun Microsystems, a key opponent of the legislation.

‘It expresses the Parliament’s clear desire to provide a balanced,
competitive market for software, one that gives equal access to participants of
all sizes,’ he added.

Mark Taylor, however, believes that a big opportunity has been lost.

‘The directive offered the chance to harmonise the position across the EU,
and this decision means that chance has been lost. Since European procedure
requires that a number of years pass before a position can be restarted,
progress has been put back by a short period at least,’ he said.

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