[Fsfe-ie] Patent lobby heats up (CampaignForCreativity)

Teresa Hackett teresahackett at eircom.net
Tue Mar 8 16:11:14 CET 2005

FI via the EDRi list.


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I hope somebody uses their spam-tool to the max... >:-/



After three years of exhaustive discussions, the majority of the 25 EU 
governments have (almost) reached agreement on a common position on the 
Directive on the continued patentability of Computer Implemented Inventions.

This common postition will soon be formally approved and sent to the 
European Parliament so that the Members of the European Parliament 
(MEPs) can give their opinion.

It is important that the MEPs know that you support the position of the 
national governments and that they receive copies of the Campaign’s 
position paper on the Directive.

The members of the Parliament are divided into three main political 
groups: The Christian Democrats/Conservatives; the Socialists and the 
Liberal and Democratic Alliance. There are also a number of smaller 
political groups including the Greens and nationalists. Members from 
across the political spectrum support the Campaign for Creativity’s 

We want to make sure that they all know that there are a huge number of 
us in the creative industries that support the Directive and want to see 
it passed in a form that will protect, encourage and reward innovation 
in the IT sector.

You can do this by either seeking a meeting with the MEPs, writing a 
letter to them or using our site to send an email. Meetings are the most 
effective way of demonstrating your support, but sending a letter or an 
email is also effective.

We have prepared a draft email for you to send (it will take less than a 
minute we promise). Start be selecting an option below:

    * send an email to all targeted MEPs
    * send an email to Christian Democrat / Conservative MEPs only
    * send an email to Socialist MEPs only
    * send an email to Liberal MEPs only

You can also write your own letter and attach a copy of our position 
paper on the Directive which you can read and print off by clicking here.

Please take a few minutes to send an email to either all the relevant 
MEPs, or those who represent your political views most closely.

Campaign for Creativity Position Paper on the Directive on the continued 
patentability of computer implemented inventions.

The draft Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions

The Campaign for Creativity supports the continued patentability of 
computer-implemented inventions.

We therefore support the Political Agreement reached by the Council in 
May 2004.  This Council position confirms the existing practice of the 
European Patent Office, which has served European inventors and 
consumers well.  The Council’s Political Agreement incorporates nearly 
half of the amendments proposed by the previous Parliament in its first 
reading, while avoiding the most harmful amendments, which would damage 
innovation in one of Europe’s most dynamic sectors.

Some claim that patents are unnecessary and that copyright would 
suffice.  In fact copyright protects the actual code in which software 
is written, but patentability protects the function, or action caused by 
the software.  This functionality cannot be protected by copyright. 
Only patents can do that.

We urge the Parliament to support the Council’s Political Agreement in 
the second Reading on the Directive.   Please reject any new amendments 
and remove those that damage the future of Europe’s innovators.

The directive is good for Europe’s competitiveness.

Points to note

The Directive applies to a wide range of industries

The Directive applies to a vast range of industries, in many of which 
Europe leads the world.  Telephones, domestic appliances, aircraft, 
cars:  Europe’s leading position in these industries has been built on 
patents, abolishing or restricting patents will damage or abolish this lead.

Computer Implemented Inventions are already patentable
Computer implemented inventions are currently patentable.  The currents 
system works very well.  It stimulates competition, innovation and 
creativity and ensures that consumers have a wide range of products to 
choose from.  There is no need to change the current approach.  There is 
no evidence from our European experience that the system is failing or 
that damage is being caused.

The draft Directive does not extend patentability

In the first reading, opponents of the Directive lead many MEPs to 
believe that the Directive would expand patentability and that this 
would represent a problem in future.  Neither of these views is correct 
and neither can be supported by evidence. The Commission was quite 
explicit about its desire to simply clarify and codify existing 
practice.  We support this objective.

The Directive will encourage innovators
A number of the amendments proposed by MEPs in the previous Parliament 
would alter the current system and tightly restrict the patentability of 
computer implemented inventions.   Such restrictions would send a 
powerful signal to innovators in Europe – it would indicate that they 
should take their talent to the United States or other places where 
their inventions would be protected.

The Directive will strengthen SMEs
Small and medium sized companies would be particularly damaged by a 
weakening of patent laws in the Union.  Often under-resourced and small, 
these fledgling companies need all the protection they can get.  A 
brilliant invention with weak or no legal protection is likely to be 
stolen by larger or more established competitors.

A positive position from the Parliament would encourage, reassure and 
protect SMEs.

The Directive would stimulate investment

Investment would become easier as investors would know that the 
innovation they are supporting would continue to be protected and that 
the law supported the inventor.

The Directive reinforces the Charter of Fundamental Rights

Article 17 (2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights states that 
intellectual property will be protected.  We urge the Parliament not to 
compromise this important right.

The Directive would support the principles of patentability
Inventions are patentable so long as they meet the four basic criteria 
of patentability: Industrial application (i.e. they can be used), 
technical character, that the invention is new and that an inventive 
step has been made. An invention therefore, even if implemented by a 
computer, is and should continue to be, patentable.

Patent law must continue to be technologically neutral.  This is a 
principle that European law has long upheld and must be upheld.  There 
is no justification whatsoever for different standards to apply to 
different sectors – inventors working in the information technology 
sector should not be discriminated against.  It would be unfair and 

Weakening the Directive would damage Europe’s international competitiveness
Abolishing patentability would put Europe in the unique position of 
being the only advanced economy in the world where computer implemented 
inventions could not be patented.  Our competitors in the United States, 
Japan, China, India and other places will continue to protect their 
innovators.  European companies will be uniquely exposed, vulnerable and 
likely to have their best inventions stolen.

Please reject unfair and incoherent amendments
The previous Parliament introduced some amendments that are frankly 
unfair and even incoherent.  They discriminate against innovators in the 
technology sector and would create great legal uncertainty,

An example of this “technological discrimination” from the first Reading 
 is the amendment which states: “processing, handling and presentation 
of information do not belong to a technical field, even where technical 
devices are employed for such purposes” (amended Article 2b).

Another amendment states “data processing is not considered to be a 
field of technology within the meaning of patent law”.

Finally in Article 3a of the previous Parliament’s position, it states 
“innovations in the field of data processing are not considered to be 
inventions within the meaning of patent law”.

The previous Parliament’s Article 6a would make it impossible for 
companies that develop new solutions to data communications to patent 
their inventions and would make many of the current patents worthless.

Why is Parliament proposing these seemingly arbitrary and discriminatory 
amendments?  Why are inventions in these areas not to be protected in 

The absence of a rational, fact-based and coherent logic underpinning 
certain of the proposed amendments is confusing and a source of worry 
for innovators.  It means that small and medium sized companies will be 
unsure as to whether their inventions are and will continue to be 
protected; forces them to seek ongoing and expensive legal advice; 
creates a disincentive for investment; and damages confidence.


Innovation is occurring at an unprecedented rate.  Europe is in the 
forefront of many technologies, our information technologies industry 
consists of thousands of innovative, dynamic and highly competitive 
companies producing thousands of products that make all of our lives 
easier and more rewarding.

We sincerely urge the Council and Parliament to embrace the Political 
Agreement agreed in May this year. It is a reasonable compromise and 
deserves support.

Contrary to what opponents of the directive would want you to believe, 
the directive as intended by Council and Commission does not stifle 
freedom, in fact it does the opposite.

This is not a Left – Right issue.  It’s not, and must not become, a 
battle between the institutions.  It is about ensuring that innovators 
have the freedom to choose to use patents to protect their intellectual 
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