[Fsfe-ie] Patents: time to do something

Justin Mason jm at jmason.org
Sat Jun 28 20:07:25 CEST 2003

"sobriquet" writes:
>I've been emailing the various MEPs regarding the Software Patents vote, and
>I've got some good responses. An assistant for Pat Cox made noises about how
>the Liberal Group (of which Cox is a member) has no set position, but that
>they have fought software patents in the past: "MEPs in the Liberal Group on
>the relevant committees (Legal Affairs Committee and Culture Committee) have
>voted against the patenting of computer programs "shall not be patentable
>inventions involving computer programs which implement business,
>mathematical or other methods, which inventions do not produce any technical
>effects beyond the manipulation and representation of information within
>computer system or network"."
>Which seems to be good news.
>I got an odd reply from Dana Scallons' office though. An assistant of hers
>(Brooke Wilkins), promised to pass on my 'concern' when Mrs Scallon is
>available, but replied with the following: "I have found some information
>that may be helpful to you.  The legislation has already been voted on in
>Parliament.  The MEPs ammended the proposal so that a patent could not be
>obtained for every simple computer program.  The proposal is now awaiting a
>vote in the Commission in the DG Internal Market."
>I've emailed asking for clarification - details of the supposed vote. I
>think it may just be crossed wires though. Could anyone on the list clarify

It sounds like much of the Arlene McCarthy camp is couching this proposal
in the *opposite* terms from its reality; ie. that it makes it *less
likely* to allow sw to be patented alone.

But the reality (according to FFII/Eurolinux and the Greens) is that
the language in fact makes that situation *less clear* and would as
a result allow software to be patented more easily than it currently
is.  Basically it leaves more up to the interpretation of the EPO,
which has already indicated that they'd probably like to allow
sw patenting -- so clear text would be a better option.

It's something to do with how "technical" is defined.  As you can
see, that's a pretty amorphous term. ;)

This can cause a lot of trouble for lobbying I think -- see the FFII
web pages for details.


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