Via On Call Bald I learn that the EU has dropped the Software Patent Directive. This is bloody superb news! We have Wlodzimierz Marcinski, the Polish Minister of Science and Computerisation, to thank for it. Never heard of the bloke before now, but he’s suddenly become an Edgar Villanueva level of hero to the Free Software community overnight. Apparently Marcinski “firmly requested” that the Directive was withdrawn from the agenda. FFII has more (as you might expect) including the following press release:
National governments were misled into believing they were getting a Directive which allowed patents only for computer-controlled technical devices. Instead, most patent professionals believe the proposed text would have forced Member States to uphold the furthest reaches of current EPO practice—so that, in the words of patent attorney Simon Davies, “all inventions that might reasonably be considered as within the realm of computer science, for example procedures at the operating system level to improve machine operation, or generic algorithms, techniques and functionality at the application level” would be patentable. Even the UK Government, one of the strongest supporters of the proposed text, admitted that “Clarity will only come from the first test case in a European court.”
Hands up anyone who’s surprised that the UK Ministry of Truth are strong supporters of it, by the way.