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Software Patents: EU's Pro-Patent Majority Crumbles

Software Patents: EU's Pro-Patent Majority Crumbles

The Polish government Wednesday decided not to support the legislative proposal currently before European Union that would have Europe ape the American system of software patents, upsetting the majority that the EU Council has had since May.

The Polish cabinet said it would support "unambiguous regulations," but not a directive under which the functionality of computer programs could be patented. It's apparently worried that the programs that run on the average PC would be patented. After a meeting with Sun, Novell, HP, Microsoft and the Polish Patent Office earlier this month, it was obvious that it would.

The EU Council will now have to renegotiate the legislative proposal. It was supposed to go to the European Parliament for ratification in mid-December.

Luxembourg, Latvia, Denmark and Italy reportedly want to make changes in the proposed legislation and bring it more into line with the pre-May understanding that would have disallowed software and business methods patents. Holland has also withdrawn its support.

Wladyslaw Majewski, the president of the Internet Society of Poland, called the May proposal "the biggest threat ever to our economic growth."

Since the EU admitted 10 new members this year, the composition of the vote changed, a fact that NoSoftwarePatents.com predicted would impact the patent legislation. The old composition was supposed to vote on the thing, but there's been a lot of foot-dragging ostensibly in the name of a shortage of translations.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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Most Recent Comments
aelbric 11/22/04 06:37:27 AM EST

If the Poles support relaxed copyrights with a sensible time duration, I am moving there. Sounds like at least one government has its head on its shoulders.

Halol 11/22/04 06:34:45 AM EST

The nice thing is that several big businesses supported Poland's decision (such as Sun, Novel and HP). From the parties present at the ministry meeting, more or less only Microsoft and a couple of patent lawyers were opposed (surprise).

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