European Parliament Scraps Software Patent Proposal

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In a victory for free software advocates of the European Union, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (JURI) has decided to restart the software patent directive from scratch. Since its introduction in May 2004, the proposal has been heavily criticised as inviting abuse by patent holders and placing overly restrictive covenants upon open source software. It has been postponed on a number of occasions, most recently when Poland intervened to stop the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries from issuing approval:

The Commissioner made clear that ‘any agreement will need to strike a fair balance between different interests’, and that ‘a constructive dialogue between the Council and Parliament will be vital for an agreement.’ He does have the option to deny a new first reading. But given the strength of feeling in the Parliament and the concerns of so many member states in the Council, the Parliament request looks like the best way to [move] forward…

In an area of law so routinely influenced by lobbyists and those with vested interests in locking up software engineering techniques, more balance can only be a good thing.

Source: Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica