What is a patentable invention in EU is given by the article 52 of EPC:
(2) The following in particular shall not be regarded as inventions within the meaning of paragraph 1:
(a) discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
(b) aesthetic creations;
(c) schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers;
(d) presentations of information.
Originally Posted by marek
The problem isn't about what is patentable and what is not, the problem is what is patented and what is not. Software may be not patentable in europe, but if EPO grants the swpats anyway, there are software patents. They're invalid, but they are. This means if the patent owners can stop developers' projects, sue them, have them criminally prosecuted (which involve seizure of equipement)... maybe the developers will win the lawsuits, but in the meanwhile (it may take years!) their projects are halted, and they face a LOT of trouble.
Last but not least: the granted swpats, all invalid, are hundred of thousands: if EU commission passes a directive to make software patentable (maybe as a ratification of some sort of international treaty like ACTA), all those pats will come into validity.... got it?
I always thought law didn't work backwards, except for special cases such as pardons for crimes no longer considered crimes. That is, you shouldn't take into account what laws should be in the future. As long as you adhere to them now, no one can prosecute you afterwards. Therefore, a software developed while software patents are not legal, therefore making the software legal, shouldn't be prosecuted afterwards for infringing patents even if they do become legal.
Originally Posted by Pickup