Cook Computing

Software patent directive adopted

March 7, 2005 Written by Charles Cook

The EU Council has approved the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive, in other words the software patent directive. To quote from another ZDNet article:

This is a triumph of bureaucracy over democracy. It's said of newspapers that you only know how bad they are when you read what they say about something you know; this affair has highlighted the mandarin mechanisms of Europe at their baleful worst. The killer argument that won the day for software patents? "We are adopting the position for institutional reasons so as not to create a precedent which might have a consequence of creating future delays in other processes." Lay down your keyboards, ye knights of open source; you have lost your freedom in a noble cause.

Nobody who actually writes or cares about software supported this directive, but nobody in a position to stop it cared about software except as a cash cow, or cared about its producers except as ever-ready battery hens to be intensively farmed. The patents organisations want more patents, regardless of quality. The bureaucrats want more centralised control. The elected representatives either don't understand the issues or have been bought by big business.

For those of us who believe in freedom to innovate, this is a sad day. It is even sadder for those who stand by the ideals which gave birth to the modern Europe, and believe that our institutions act on our behalf against powerful self-interests.[/quote]The one good thing that might come out of this is to make the true nature of the EU more obvious. Its not about warm and fluffy ideals about European togetherness, instead it is about creating a centralized bureaucratic power which will take more and more freedom away from the member states.

There is a chance that the European parliament will reject or amend the directive but it is unlikely because an absolute majority of all MEPs is required, not just those who will be present to vote, just one way in which the EU is organized to favour directives issued by the unelected members of the EU Council.