[ffii] Commission won't restart patents directive, DG MARKT fears balanced approach

Jonas Maebe jmaebe at ffii.org
Mon Feb 28 20:50:34 CET 2005

PRESS RELEASE FFII -- [ Europe / economy / ICT ]

Commission won't restart patents directive, DG MARKT fears balanced

Brussels, 28 February 2005 -- The Commission has turned down the
European Parliament's request for a restart of the software patents
directive. Despite a virtually unanimous vote in the European
Parliament's responsible JURI Committee and a unanimous request by the
whole European Parliament in plenary, the Commission's DG Internal
Market is apparently determined to destroy the directive by trying to
get the EP to massively reject the directive in second reading.

  The Commission's Directorate General for the Internal Market, which
is responsible for the directive, has informed several parties today
it has denied the EP's request for a restart of the much contested
software patents directive. FFII confirmed this information with Ms
Antonia Carparelli, deputy head cabinet of Commissioner Walström's
office and responsible for relations with the Parliament. She said

   "Yes, Barrosso has declined the restart. McCreevy is involved,
   but did not take the final decision. The college acts by
   majority, but in this case there was no vote, because the
   decision was based on a previous discussion in the college."

  She also mentioned that she didn't think that McCreevy could be
persuaded to renegotiate in the Council. This confirms what FFII had
previously already heard from a member of the Commission's DG
Information Society, namely that that DG MARKT was very reluctant to

  The reported reason was that if they do restart, they must produce a
new text on which several other DG's, such as Information Society and
Competition, must agree as well. These other DG's would reportedly
never support an extreme text such as the one currently on the table
in the Council, or even the original Commission proposal from 2002.
They would insist on a more balanced approach, which is apparently not
desired by DG MARKT.

  "Instead of grabbing the chance to take into account all new facts
which have come to light since the origin of the current directive
text, namely the Green Paper from 1997, the Commission is alienating
the EP to an extent that it may very well simply call a halt to this
farce which is supposed to represent democracy", comments Jonas Maebe,
FFII Board Member. "If a set of harmonised rules is truly the number
one goal of the Commission, then why is it sabotaging the whole

  In the mean time, highly placed government sources have also
confirmed that the directive will once more appear as an A-item on 7
March, this time on the agenda of the responsible Competition Council
formation. All hope for a democratic and balanced resolution now rests
on the shoulders of the ministers and officials who will attend that
Council meeting. Turning the directive back into a B-item, i.e. a
discussion point, seems to be the only proper way out now.

Extra information

- Permanent link to this press release

- European Parliament unanimously supports restart

- JURI asks for restart with large majority

- Report for European Parliament concludes Commission and Council
   proposals simply codify the European Patent Office's US practice


Hartmut Pilch, Munich Office
phm at ffii.org
tel. +49 (0)89 18979927

Erik Josefsson, Brussels Office
erjos at ffii.org
tel. +32 (0)485 83 21 26

Jonas Maebe, Board Member
jmaebe at ffii.org
tel. +32 (0)485 36 96 45

About the FFII -- http://www.ffii.org

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) is a
non-profit association registered in several European countries, which
is dedicated to the spread of data processing literacy. FFII supports
the development of public information goods based on copyright, free
competition, open standards. More than 500 members, 1,200 companies
and 80,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in
public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual
property) in data processing.

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