The European Union proposed Directive on software patents is again in limbo due to an apparent withdrawal of support by Poland, whose vote would be necessary to pass the legislation.
Since 1997, the European Union has been attempting to harmonize the laws of its member states regarding the patentability of computer-implemented inventions. The current proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions has been in circulation since February 2002, and was promoted largely on the basis of improved competitiveness with the United States (where technical contribution is not a requirement for patentability) and Japan (where technical contribution is a requirement). The text was narrowed by Parliament and then returned to its original draft by Council. Critics of the law, of whom the most recent is Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, dub the Directive the “software patent directive” and argue that software is best protected by copyright and not by patent law. For the moment, Poland appears to agree that the current text of the Directive opens the doors too wide to software patents, and debate on the proposal has been delayed.
For information on the Directive from the European Union, visit:
For an International Herald Tribune article Poland’s current position, see:
For a related article in MacCentral on opposition to the Directive, visit:
Summary by: Nicholas J. Whalen