Without a solid legal basis, the European Patent Office has already granted about 30,000 software patents. Those pertain to some of the simplest and most general things.
Some people liken software patents to a minefield: Wherever you go, you have the risk of treading on a landmine that kills you.
It's truly beyond imagination how many patents have been granted on the most basic ideas. You can hardly do anything on a computer or on the Internet without potentially "violating" countless patents.
Probably the most impressive visualization of the issue has been produced by the FFII. The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure created an image of what looks like a pretty normal Internet-based shop. That hypothetical webshop "infringes" upon 20 software patents that the European Patent Office has already granted. It's now up to politicians whether such absurd patents become enforceable or not.
Click on the image to see the details.
Click to read why the owner of any of those 20 patents
could take the entire webshop out of business