[ffii] EU Council for unlimited patentability + enforcability
phm at a2e.de
Wed Feb 18 13:15:01 CET 2004
The EU Council "Working Party on Intellectual Property (Patents)" is
meeting on March 2nd to further push its agenda of unlimited patentability
as proposed in the so-called
Presidency Compromise Proposal
which is the most extreme pro software patent proposal of all parties
issued so far, going even further than the European Commission and the
Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.
See also our PR
The only reason for this aberration we can think of, is that they want to
make it seem as if the parliament is one extreme, they are the other and
that the Commission/JURI are the real middle (compromise) position.
* It's as if in the debate on whether or not we should allow new member
states to join the EU, the compromise would be to not allow them, and
to ask the US to bomb them because they are supposedly harbouring
* It's as if in a debate on whether or not we should raise the speed
limits on the roads, the compromise would be to raise it and
additionally remove the requirement to wear seat belts.
What is a compromise and what not should become clearer if we put
the various proposals on an axis:
* "no patents at all": supported by some economists but not by
any players in the current debate
* "no patents on anything that somehow touches software" : supported
by Arlene McCarhty's
Free Software Alliance
* "no patents on pure software, guarantee freedom of publication and
interoperability": European Parliament 2004-09-24
* "unlimited patentability, limited enforcability" :
Commission 2002-02-20, JURI 2003-06-17
* "unlimited patentability, unlimited enforcability" :
This should show who has put forward a "compromise proposal" and what
position the Council is taking.
It should be noted that the Council was encouraged in this extreme course
by the Commission, whose commitment to limited enforcability has always
been half-hearted. The Commission's Industrial Property officials led the
negotiations in the Council Working Party and encouraged the course which
it has taken by means of a paper leaked in November, which we have
partially analysed at
This paper is full of untrue derogatory statements about the European
Parliament's work, and it shows between the lines that the Commission's IP
official would have liked to opt for unlimited enforcability as well.
However, while the Commission's IP unit had to compromise with the
Information Society Unit on this point, the Council's Patent Working Party
is in a much more pleasant position. It consists solely of the very
people who administer the EPO, and it is protected by complete anonymity.
As long national governments treat the question of patentability as an
unimportant matter which can be delegated to "patent experts", the
Council's Patent Working Party is free to pursue its own interests in
their most extreme form.
Hartmut Pilch, FFII & Eurolinux Alliance tel. +49-89-18979927
Protecting Innovation against Patent Inflation http://swpat.ffii.org/
300,000 votes 2000 firms against software patents http://noepatents.org/
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