EU Now Says No to Software Patents

The European Commission, in an official reply to a parliament Member's question, last week stated that computer programs will not be patentable in the new European patent law. This directly contradicts the executive body's earlier stances on the issue. No reason was given for the change in position, though recent wins in the EU Parliament and in various courts have begun to build momentum against software patents. After the law is passed, software patents already granted by the Eupoean Patent Office are likely to be struck down (as some already have been in the UK). European Parliament member Adam Gierek (Poland) stated:

"I am concerned about European Patent Office (EPO) practices which are undermining the social acceptability of the patent system, with patents being granted for solutions that are not patentable under the current law. Fortunately, the courts in the Member States are making use of their right to rescind patents granted by the EPO for software and business methods. The difference in approach between the EPO and, for example, the Polish patent office is illustrated by the fact that the latter has for months been refusing to grant two patents to applicants granted patents by the EPO. To date, the Polish courts have upheld these decisions."

Techworld: EU Backtracks on Patent Law

Yahoo News: EC: Software not Patentable