[Fsfe-ie] News article EU software patents directive delayed

Teresa Hackett teresahackett at eircom.net
Wed Oct 20 13:21:39 CEST 2004

Forwarded from edri list.


EU software patents directive delayed

eGovernment News – 11 October 2004 – EU and Europe-wide – Software/Legal
The formal approval of the draft Directive on the patentability of
computer-implemented inventions by the EU Competitiveness Council has
been postponed due to translation delays.

The political agreement between Member States over the draft Directive
on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions was expected to
be approved during the EU's Competitiveness Council meeting held on
24/09/2004, before being sent back to the European Parliament for a
second reading. However, the item was removed from the Council’s agenda
due to delays in translation.

The text agreed upon by Member States on 18 May 2004 will now only be
approved at the earliest in November. This new delay means that the
European Parliament will only start working on its response to the
Council by the end of 2004 or even at the beginning of 2005. On
6/10/2004, the Parliament's Internal Market Committee selected former
French Prime Minister Michel Rocard to draw up its response.

Unsurprisingly, the appointment of Mr Rocard – an outspoken adversary of
software patents – was welcomed by opponents of the proposed directive
and criticised by its supporters. "That Michel Rocard is taking over the
dossier reflects the fact that the wider economic, infrastructural and
social implications for Europe are now seen more clearly. Also, in the
Council a learning process has begun, and it will be supported by the
Parliament's move", Mr Holger Blasum of the Foundation for a Free
Information Infrastructure told journalists. On the oher hand, Francisco
Mingorance of the Business Software Alliancepointed out that Mr Rocard
hasn't shown any sympathy to the directive in the past. "We can only
hope he will be sufficiently open to the view of persons and groups
which have a different opinion", he said.

Meanwhile, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, MEP and co-president of the Greens/EFA
Group, speculated that the proposed directive would be referred back to
Coreper, the Committee for EU Permanent Representatives, which would
allow Member States to resume technical discussions and, perhaps,
reconsider the directive.

The draft Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented
Inventions seeks to harmonise Europe's rules in the field of
intellectual property regimes for computer programmes, with a view to
create a secure and coherent environment favourable to research and
development. The European Parliament approved the draft on 24/09/2003,
but only after introducing a number of amendments reducing the scope of
patent protection far more than what was planned in the original text
proposed by the European Commission and than what most European
governments would like. However, the draft text agreed upon by the
Council on 18 May 2004, based on a compromise presented by the Irish
Presidency and supported by the European Commission, removes most of the
amendments voted by the European Parliament and lifts most restrictions
to the direct patentability of computer programs, data structures and
process descriptions.

© European Communities 2004
Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.
The views expressed are not an official position of the European


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