In Europe the heated discussion on business method patents and software patents basically died after the European Parliament rejected the controversial draft directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions in July 2005. This vote ended more than three years of legislative procedure and intense debate between the Member States, large companies and SMEs, various organizations and lobby groups, economists, lawyers, IT professionals and even EU institutions. For an overview of the issues which were debated in 2004-2005, many of which are still very relevant, see this “Aide-Memoire”. With this software debate, the discussions on desirability of business methods vanished completely.
The fact that generally patents are perceived as too easy to get, in many cases leading to so called “undesirable patents”, have for long dominated the debate.
Ridiculous and useless but humorous patent applications have many times been cited by those opposing a more serious discussion. For the latest ridicule, see the patent application for “method and instrument for proposing marriage to an individual“. A marriage for 20 years, if it ever reaches the level of patent issue.
See for the FFII’s anti software patent video “How Software patents work”