[Fsfe-ie] Re: [Ffii-uk] Re: [Free-sklyarov-uk] Update on software patents

Bernhard Kaindl bernhard.kaindl at gmx.de
Fri Nov 14 00:17:40 CET 2003

On Tue, 11 Nov 2003, Philip Hunt wrote:

> > (i) The meeting of the Competitiveness Council on November 27th.  This
> > is the last date for political agreement, if the Directive is to
> > complete its stages before the EuroParl elections next year.
> >
> > (ii)  Next year sometime.  If waiting for the EuroParl elections doesn't
> > matter.
> I suspect they will try to go for (i).

This is of course true for the commission and the patent working group
for the council, but at least some member states seem to want to have
a "good legislation" instead of a "hurried legislation".

I think this is the heart, this has been discussed for so long, a year
or more does not really matter anymore, at least to me - and I think the
more time goes the more examples we get how bad it would be to enforce
the policy of the EPO to the member state's courts and patent offices.

Another thing which has just happened was the report of the FTC:

FTC calls for US patent reform:

Intel co-founder and chairman Andrew S. Grove also did a statement:

We can also use the time to get more people involved and make them aware
of the issues.

> > On this scenario, delaying could give time for wait for the waves of
> > protest to dissolve and fresh new MEPs ready to be lobbied.
> Including lots from the new members, who might not know the history of
> the Software Patents Directive, and thus the pro-patent lobby may find
> it easier to pull the wool over their eyes.

This is one view. The other is that with the EU enlargement, which is also
expected for next year, many new MEPs will be from the new member states.

The new member states usually don't have as large industries
as the current member states so they should normally be even
more dependent on wealth of SMEs.

These nations should find it in their interest to work in favour
of SMEs, even if this means that not every desire of a few(for them,
foreign) big players can be put into law.

> > At the moment the UKPO seems to be trying very hard to avoid issuing any
> > detailed systematic point-by-point analysis of the European Parliament
> > amendments and what issues they raise.
> Is there any particular reason for this? or just to keep people in
> the dark?

I think so, I guess they realize, if the discuss it in detail in the
public, with the misters or concerned MPs, they will not be able to
reject most of the EP amendments.

I think it would also make clear that they want to patent the ideas
in computer programs, e.g. Amendment 45 which the Commission says
"would be unacceptable" just adds this:

| Article 3a:
| Member States shall ensure that data processing is not considered
| to be a field of technology within the meaning of patent law, and
| that innovations in the field of data processing are not considered
| to be inventions within the meaning of patent law.

I guess if we can get them to explain the amendments one by one
in detail thru asking our MPs, it would be visible to all what
they do want to have patentable in their view.

And as this would be visible then, they could be forced by the
ministers to adopt a different route(as they are just servants),
which they don't like.

So I guess we should go forward to ask for explanations.

We are now in this position (as the EP adopted these amendments)
and we should use it now, so that they have to explain.

> > It seems possible that the UKPO may be trying to do everything it can to
> > keep these more subtle loopholes off the agenda, in the hope that by
> > shutting down public discussion of them, they can keep Ministers from
> > ever realising that the questions even exist, and ought to be
> > politically considered.
> Good point.

Yes, I think this is a view we can also express to our MPs.

> > To get an idea of how legal many subleties we are talking about,
> > consider how many apparently innocuous amendments the European
> > Commission staff have red-lined "non-negotiably unacceptable" as their
> > preliminary assessment in the Coreper briefing.  These can be seen
> > highlighted in side-by-side comparison at:
> >
> > 	http://www.ffii.org.uk/recitals.html
> > 	http://www.ffii.org.uk/articles.html
> The big one is amendment 76 which ensures that patents can't prevent
> interoperability:
>   Member States shall ensure that, wherever the use of a patented technique
>   is needed for a significant purpose such as ensuring conversion of the
>   conventions used in two different computer systems or networks so as to
>   allow communication and exchange of data content between them, such use is
>   not considered to be a patent infringement.

Yes, I also think that's a good one, we are going into the information
age and if the ways to communicate are in the hands of a few strong
corporations, they(not the states) can dictate the rules of communication
which can't be the goal of democracy.

   "An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes
       which can be made in a very narrow field."
            --Niels Bohr

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