Software // Enterprise Applications
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2/18/2005
12:51 PM
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Software Patents Provoke Demonstrations In Europe

Battle lines are hardening between interests for and against software patents in Europe. Meanwhile, demonstrators took to the streets in Brussels to protest against software patents.

Battle lines are hardening between interests for and against software patents in Europe, as the EU Parliament dismissed a bill that would have allowed software to be patented liberally. Meanwhile, demonstrators took to the streets in Brussels to protest against software patents.

As expected, the Parliament on Thursday threw out an existing patent directive, paving the way for the entire issue to be examined again from scratch.

Florian Mueller, campaign manager for an anti-patents organization, hailed the decision in an email, noting that Germany's Bundestag also passed a directive in support of the EU Parliament stance.

While the issue concerns software companies and developers pretty much across-the-board, software patents in Europe are polarized, on one hand, by Microsoft--whose lobbyists have supported the existing patenting process--and, on the other hand, by Mueller's www.nosoftwarepatents.org effort, which is supported by open-source companies Red Hat and MySQL among others.

The issue is expected to get a thorough airing over the coming months, as the two sides marshal their arguments anew.

In a sign that the issue is gaining attention, hundreds of demonstrators from several European countries converged on Brussels to protest software patents. The demonstration was organized by the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII).

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