I though that patent laws in the US were getting ridiculous. Well, it seems to be a race to the bottom, with the EU poised to take the lead: they want patent violations to carry criminal (i.e., jail time) provisions:
For once, declared adversaries are on the same side of an argument in the technology industry: Both sides are urging European lawmakers to drop legislation that would impose prison time on patent violators and that they say would stifle innovation across Europe.
It's a rare thing to see industry lining up with the EFF, but here it is:
Heavyweights like Nokia and Microsoft on one hand, and the grass-roots Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure on the other, are making common cause against wide-ranging legislation proposed by the European Commission that would criminalize all intellectual property infringements, including patents. The law would provide blanket protection to all forms of intellectual property through the 25 countries of the union.
I suppose it's a small comfort for software developers that the EU rejected software patents recently (although, that fight is hardly over). If the people pushing this kind of thing in patents, along with the forces of copyright madness (the RIAA, MPAA, and their brethern in Europe) have their way, we can look forward to a complete stifling of forward motion.