Why all the fuss about software patents? See this link:
A choice quote that might be of interest to the non-geeks amongst you:
"Advances in software are advances in abstraction. While traditional patents were for concrete and physical inventions, software patents cover ideas. Instead of patenting a specific mousetrap, you patent any "means of trapping mammals" or "means of trapping data in an emulated environment". The fact that the universal logic device called "computer" is used for this does not constitute a limitation. When software is patentable, anything is patentable."
There's some good UK-specific information at this link: