Software patent directive

Richard Aspden microchip at
Mon Jul 4 10:04:47 PDT 2005

I don't know how many people are already familiar with it, but on 
tuesday/wednesday, the European Parliment is voting on whether to allow 
software patents or not. I've personally been talking to the FFII ( / ) and mailed my 
MEP about it.

In English, what the proposed directive means is that companies can 
copyright the concept of software ideas. An example of this is the 
following sample granted patent:

"collect buyable items in a list and buy all of them at the end."

So, if you design a shopping cart for someone and that is passed, you'll 
be paying royalties. Personally, I find this somewhat ridiculous. The 
same goes for almost all software concepts, if someone patents them.

It also means that open source / free software is massively hampered, as 
if a free piece of software does something that a patent covers, they'll 
have to pay royalties too, which would kill most projects.

If this concerns you, send an e-mail to your local MEP, if nothing else. 
  There's a list at for the 
addresses. Personally, I'm going to ring them up tomorrow morning and 
talk to them about it. But this has me more than a little worried, as 
the main thing we do is create software.

If this doesn't concern you, I apologise for cluttering your inbox. But 
I'm doing what I can to help stop this going through.


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