I’m not sure whether this reflects the fractiousness of the European “Union,” or European unity in opposition to protection for intellectual property (or both), but yesterday the European Parliament “overwhelmingly rejected a proposed law Wednesday to create a single way of patenting software across the European Union.”

“Patents will continue to be handled by national patent offices … as before, which means different interpretations as to what is patentable, without any judiciary control by the European Court of Justice,” said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, representing the EU head office at the vote.

So in one sense this development maintains the status quo, with each member state retaining the sovereignty to fashion its own patent law. Of course, it undermines the unity of Europe as a market governed by common regulations and laws. This follows months of volleying the bill back and forth between the Parliament and the Commission, which originated the measure.