The European Parliament has rejected the software patent directive that would have instituted US-style patents on software. See, for example, this UK Register article and this MSN Money article. Hat tip: SlashDot. From the MSN article:
The so-called software patent directive, rejected by a 648-14 vote with 18 abstentions, would have given companies EU-wide patent protection for computerized inventions ranging from programs for complex CAT scanners to ABS car-brake systems. The protection would also have extended to computer programs when the software is used in the context of realizing inventions.
But lawmakers said the measure would stifle enterprise and did not promote innovation, and that human knowledge can’t be patented. The move kills the legislation since the EU head office, which had drafted it, does not plan to set forth a new version.
I’m of mixed opinions about this, depending on the details of the proposed legislation, and so will rely on referring back to this post from January about IBM’s decision to stop enforcing its patents on some of its patents. It ties in with the EU decisions, kinda.