I've written a number of times about the unsatisfactory state of software patents in Europe – theoretically forbidden, but in practice, frequently sneaking in by the back door. Now there's a petition calling for greater legal clarity:
Our petition aims to unify the voices of concerned Europeans, associations and companies, and calls on our politicians in Europe to stop patents on software with legislative clarifications.
The patent system is misused to restrain competition for the economical benefit of a few but fails to promote innovation. A software market environment is better off with no patents on software at all. Healthy competition forces market players to innovate.
European court decisions still accept in many cases the validity of the software patents granted by national patent offices and the European Patent Office (EPO) that is beyond democratic control. They not only continue to grant them, but also to lobby in favor of them. Despite the current deep crisis of the patent system, they are unable to reform and put at risk too many European businesses with their soft granting policy.
On 2005 the Commission appeared to be more supportive to the interests of major international conglomerates than of small and medium sized enterprises from Europe - who are a major driving force behind European innovation. The European Parliament rejected at the end the software patent directive, but has no rights for legislative initiatives.