The activists in Europe are very well organized and have infused the public (and even software developers) with the absurd notions that software is not inventive and should be available like music in the days of Napster.
There is some likelihood that the protesters and activists get their wish of weakening the patent system in Europe. This will drive the innovative companies to the US and any other safe haven for patents. The result is that the US economy will continue to innovate and prosper while the Europeans yield to the fickle movements of activists.
Europe will turn into the bazaars that I have visited in Estonia, China, and other third world countries where copied versions of every software imaginable is available for a few RMB’s.
The software industry in these countries is terrible, mostly because of the rampant copying and complete disregard for inventor’s protection. Why would a company go through the trouble to produce and distribute new software for that market when the software will reproduce like rabbits without rewarding the developers?
The same thing will happen in Europe if the activists get their way. The weakening of the patent system will dampen if not eliminate interest in serving their market. The open source software developers will go hungry because their day jobs will have evaporated or moved to the US or other countries with strong patent systems.
When the European software market turns into a nuclear wasteland, the US market will be vibrant and booming. The most creative and talented people will be working here, developing useful products, starting new companies, driving nice cars, living in big houses, and paying lots of taxes. In the long run, who will prosper?