David A. Wheeler's Blog

Fri, 07 May 2004

Counter EU Council of Ministers’ foolish patent decision

The FFII has learned that the EU Council of Ministers has decided to ignore the EU Parliment, and instead plan to establish a reckless “patent everything” approach to software and business models. This is an incredibly bad idea; US experience has shown uncontrolled patenting is an unmitigated disaster for commerce, and there’s no reason for Europe to import bad ideas. It’s also exposing some serious problems with EU governance; members of the European Parliament across the political spectrum are condemning this blatant disrespect for democracy in Europe.

See the FFII for more information, including a simple example of why patents are bad — they have a demo web page that would be illegal if these laws were passed, because Europe has already granted patents on the idea of a web store, etc. In the process of gathering information on software innovation it became quite clear to me that, while patents may be useful in the hardware fields they were intended for, patents actually impede innovation in software and business methods. Which is why US law originally forbid them (until these laws were stealthily overturned by patent lawyers), and why most countries still forbid them.

I urge Europeans to get involved - see this FFII page for more information.

path: /misc | Current Weblog | permanent link to this entry