Friday, July 08, 2005

Software Patents Rejected by EU

One positive news item came out of Europe Thursday: the European Parliament overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to establish patents on software. The measure was backed by many large software companies who think that it would have helped them stave off competition from the open-source community. That's especially bizarre since one of the biggest backers of the bill was Microsoft, the company who made famous the concept of "embrace and extend," the idea of copying competitors' features and then improving on them, which in turn makes competitors do the same.

In the long run, so long as the EU remains true to its principles, both open and proprietary software will benefit and by extention, every computer user. Software feature races are good. Software patents stop them. Kudos to everyone who helped secure the victory.

For more on why software patents are a bad idea, read this post from venture capitalist Joi Ito.