[ffii] Lehne, McCreevy, demonstrators with canoes

PILCH Hartmut phm at a2e.de
Tue Jul 5 15:42:03 CEST 2005

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

Patent lobby MEPs calling for rejection of the directive

Brussels, 5 July 2005 - At a press conference this morning at 9:00,
the coordinator of the European People's Party group in the Legal
Affairs Committee explained that he is putting together a majority of
MEPs who will vote for a rejection of the Council's "Common Position"
right at the beginning of tomorrow's vote, even before any amendments
are voted on.  Lehne also explained that there is no longer a majority
in the Council for the "Common Position".

The announcement comes at a time where similar calls have been
launched by the large companies with big patent departments and big
lobbying budgets who have, during the last months, been the main
supporters in Lehne's campaign in favor of the "Common Position".

Other patent lobby MEPs, such as the Liberal group's legal affairs
spokesman Toine Manders from the Netherlands, have also started to
call for rejection of the Directive.

Manders explains his motives as follows: "A chaos is threatening
... in Strasbourg. Because of the large number of amendments, the
directive could shoot in all kinds of directions like a firecracker
and we want to prevent this."

Lehne called for withdrawal of the directive already in February,
giving as a reason that the Parliament was unlikely to agree to a
favorable (pro-patent) directive at this stage.

The move by Manders and Lehne is coming at a time where a majority of
367 votes for 21 cross-party amendments is in sight.  These amendments
have garnered support from large groups of MEPs in the camp of Lehne
and Manders, alongside with nearly total support among all other

The Parliament now still has the chance to vote for a coherent
counter-position to the Council and Commission.  CEA-PME (including
FFII) has called on MEPs to vote for the 21 cross-party amendments, so
as to form a coherent counter-position, and to reject only if these
amendments fail to receive the needed support by 367 votes.  If the
Parliament succedes in forming a coherent counter-position, the
Council or the Commission are still free to withdraw the directive.
Commissioner McCreevy has today once more demonstrated that he is more
than willing to do this.

100 Demonstrators, canoe race, Buzek-Rocard-Duff placards

It is 7:00am this Tuesday July 5 when the first bus unload their
travellers in front of the European Parliament of Strasbourg. They
came from whole Europe, coordinated by FFII.  Some travelled all night
from Poland to be there in time in front of the entry where MEPs come
by between 8:00am till 10:00am with 10h to be seen with their yellow
t-shirts marked "no software patents" and "power to the parliament".

The large banners are deployed with haste right just before the
arrival of the first members of Parliament

Because it is the day before of the great day: today the debate takes
place, and tomorrow will be the vote.

The same day at 8:00, the FFII invited members of Parliament with a
breakfast of work on the question of what still could be done before
the vote.

The pro-patent campaigners of "Campaign for Creativity" chose to be
present on water, the Parliament being surrounded of visible channels
since the buildings; they chartered a small yacht which carried a
large yellow and blue banner (as usual, copycatting the FFII
symbols). The FFII side reacted by bringing a half-dozen kayaks on to
the water with banners calling for a "vote for Buzek-Rocard-Duff"
between two blows of paddle.

On the footbridge which hangs over the channel and connects the two
wings of the building, MEPs laugh. Somebody exclaims: "this seems to
prove that creativity is rather on their side"!

False Press Agency Reports about the Demonstration

Meanwhile the press agency AP has been reporting about protesters who

* http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8B569SO0.htm?campaign_id=apn_home_down

"stopped cars of MEPs" and brandished slogans saying "US patents go
out".  We wonder who these protesters were.  As we saw it, the
atmosphere between the MEPs and us was friendly, the slogans were
markedly peaceful.  AP also reports that the proposed law is not about
software as such but only "CAT scanners", "car brake systems" etc, not
about office software and business methods.  The opposite is of course
true.  Intel has meanwhile correctly noted in a paper distributed to
MEPs that "computer-implemented inventions" do *not* include anything
beyond pure software, whereas "computer-aided inventions" include
"thousands of devices that were out of the scope of the directive".
For this reason, Intel *opposes* the proposal of Buzek-Rocard-Duff to
rename "implemented" to "aided".

We may suggest that both assertions of this press agecies about the
demonstration are about equally credible.  This type of false
reporting by press agencies has accompanied the directive project at
all its decisive junctures during the last few years.

Background information and further news

* Transcriptions of today's speeches

* FFII Voting List
  A more nicely commented version is being worked on.

* EUpolitix.com: Commissioner McCreevy accuses European SMEs of
  "anti-globalisation, anti-Americanism, anti-big business protests ...",
  repeats threats to withdraw the directive if it fails to impose the
  current practise of the European Patent Office.

* Current practise of the European Patent Office

* Trilateral Project of 2000

* Lehne law office partner admits: directive intended to impose 
  US-style software patents

* SAP user association against software patents
  (meanwhile a SAP developper Prof. Bernd Runge said on the radio that patents
   are helping criminal elements to prey on SAP and SAP needs
   protection from patents rather than by patents)

* 2005-07-02 Toine Manders fears anti-patent vote and seeks rejection 

* 2005-02-03 Lehne fears anti-patent sentiment and seeks withdrawal

* 2005-07-01 2 large german associations turn from pro to against software patents

* 2005-06-28 German Entrepreneurs accuse Lehne, Wuermeling et al of
  fraudulent statements, of conflicts of interst, ask CDU to show
  clearly where they stand, complain of being ignored by pro-patent
  MEPs, who instead make claims about phantom SMEs wanting software
  patents.  In his speech today Lehne denied the charges.

* Stay tuned to our news ticker

Contact information

Hartmut Pilch and Holger Blasum (Munich Office)
info at ffii org
tel. +49-89-18979927

Erik Josefsson (Brussels Office)
erjos at ffii org
tel. +32-484-082063

Jonas Maebe
jmaebe at ffii org
tel. +32-485-369645

Rufus Pollock
rufus.pollock at ffii.org.uk

Gérald Sédrati-Dinet
Vice President FFII
gibus at ffii.fr

More information about the News mailing list