Friday, February 18, 2005

Software Patent Directive Rejected by EU Parliament

The European Commission's initiative for a directive permitting the patenting of software [Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions, or CIIs] has been rejected by the EU Parliament, whose Conference of Presidents UNANIMOUSLY moved to demand that the Commission "restart" the whole process of proposing a directive on software patents.

This is a major victory for the forces that oppose patent protection for software in Europe - and these forces include the EU Pundit.

Excellent analysis of this significant development is found at the following articles:

Paul Meller of the International Herald Tribune reports in EU body scraps software-patent proposal that:

"In a rare move, the European Parliament on Thursday demanded that a proposal for a Europewide law on software patents be scrapped and the debate started again."

Matthew Broersma of eWeek tells us further in greater detail at EU Parliament Approves Software Patent Restart that:

"A European Parliament body has adopted a motion to scrap the European Union's proposed IT patenting legislation, amid growing criticism of the proposal from EU member states. The decision by the EP's Conference of Presidents—the heads of the parliament's political groups—is the last hurdle before the parliament can formally ask the Commission for a restart....

On Feb. 2, the EP legal affairs committee, JURI, voted nearly unanimously to call for the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, to restart the legislative process around IT patenting. On Thursday morning the Conference of Presidents adopted JURI's motion, which calls for a new first reading of the proposed directive.

In the meantime, the EU Council [of Ministers], the third branch of EU government, is still seeking to adopt the controversial text it agreed on in May. This would send the proposal in its current form back to the EP for a second reading, where it would be difficult for MEPs (members of European Parliament) to make changes.

The Commission may grant the EP's request, or it may deny it and allow the proposal to go to a second reading, or it may withdraw the proposal entirely. If the proposal is withdrawn, the Commission can't introduce another initiative on the same subject for two years. The national parliaments of Spain and the Netherlands last week adopted motions in support of a restart, and Germany is expected to adopt a similar resolution later on Thursday."


Simon Taylor, IDG News Service, Techworld.com - EU Parliament demands patent law restart writes:

"Originally designed to extend patent protection to inventions that are implemented by computers, such as mobile phones or washing machines, the legislation has been attacked as opening the door to a US-style patent regime where "pure" software and business methodology, such as Amazon's One Click online purchasing process, can be protected against imitation."

A significant role in opposing the software patent directive has been played by Poland. See Jim Rapoza's article Poland's Stand Against European Patents Was Heroic.

The software patent issue is a highly controversial one, so much so that a rare demonstration occurred in Brussels against the directive.

Even Linus Torwalds, the father of Linux, "slammed the EU proposal", as reported by Matthew Broersma in eWeek some months ago.

See the Wikipedia for a comprehensive analysis of this directive under
EU Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions.
.

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