Last year, the legislation had been moving through European Common Market governmental agencies until the Polish government protested the legislation. The latest protest enables opponents of the legislation to organize, which will place the legislation in jeopardy. "This issue is controversial, complex, and so very critical to Europe's future," said Florian Mueller, manager of the NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign, in a statement Monday. "A total restart is also a face-saving exit strategy for the EU Council."
Earlier attempts to approve the patenting of software in Europe had stopped the City of Munich's attempt to migrate its extensive IT operation to a Linux-based infrastructure. Although the project resumed, many smaller and medium companies bidding on pieces of the project have backpedaled because of the uncertainty surrounding the software-patenting issue. Open-source software interests have long opposed the patenting of software.
If the entire process is restarted--as now seems likely--the issue's chances of passing are reduced.
As an example of the uncertainty and confusion that surrounds the issue, Mueller noted that the European Patent Convention excludes computer-software patents, "but an estimated number of more than 30,000 such patents have been granted in Europe nonetheless."