Yesterday ( 25.04.2008 ) was the day of the intellectual property.
But does software fall into this category?
In my opinion you cannot grant patents to ideas – only e.g. to devices. I think you cannot grant a patent like ‘enter the code for the sales discount’. You can only put a copyright on the code (e.g. which queries the database), but copyright means that others cannot (easily) make a duplicate – it doesn’t mean that others cannot ‘use’ this idea (plagiates are forbidden of course). If the granted patents on software can be executed in europe, then many open source programmer – like me – gets a lot of trouble!
Today I discovered a good (english or german) example at ffii.de to demonstrate which patents could be violated if you develop a simple webshop. It was really impressive for me that these patents are actually granted.
To look for the mentioned patent numbers you can use espacenet.com.