The European Patent Organisation has decided to maintain its policy of banning patents on software, but a decision from a European Commission could overturn the ban.
Patents on software have never plagued Europe as they have the US, where patents have caused major controversy. Amazon.com, for example, holds a patent for one-click shopping which keeps its competitors from offering a similar service. Development platform vendors Macromedia and Adobe Systems have been claiming and counter-claiming against each other's products over patent abuse for some years.
The strongest critics of software patents are the open-source community, which endeavours to open up technologies to standardisation and end proprietary rights over technologies. The European Commission is accepting public comment until December 15 before it comes to a final decision.