Commission refuses to rewrite patent directive

Commission refuses to rewrite patent directive

Summary: In the latest twist, it looks like the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive now will not now be revised by the EC. Campaigners say they are furious

TOPICS: Government UK

The European Commission (EC) has rejected requests to rewrite the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive (CIID), sparking a furious response from campaigners who accused the EC of acting undemocratically.

An EC spokesman confirmed on Monday that the Commission had declined requests from the European Parliament to go back to basics on the CIID, which opponents claim will allow the widespread patenting of software in Europe.

"We expect the European Council to formalise the common position. The Commission stands ready to review all aspects of the directive," said the EC spokesman, adding that this meant that changes could yet be made to the directive when it reaches the European Parliament.

Florian Mueller, who runs an anti-patent Web site, condemned the EC's decision, accusing those responsible of "negating democracy".

"Now we call on the EU Council to demonstrate a more democratic attitude and to reopen negotiations of its Common Position at the forthcoming meeting of the Competitiveness Council on Monday 7 March," said Mueller.

The CIID has sparked many months of argument, debate and confusion within Europe. It has yet to be formally adopted by the European Council, but if this does happen the directive will return to the Parliament. The EC spokesman said he understood that the Council is planning to put the CIID on the agenda of the 7 March meeting.

Earlier this month the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) of the European Parliament demanded that the proposed software patent directive should be started from scratch.

This request was later ratified by senior members of the parliament.

Topic: Government UK

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  • I think the EU will loose a lot of trust among IT professionals over this issue.

    IT is clear that they are ignoring the democratic voice of the vast majority in order to cater to the every whim of a few large multi-national companies who stand to making billions (if not trillions) if this directive gets through.

    It seems every MEP plays down this bill to constituants (who are obviously going to loose in the long run with higher software prices due to less competition) but then plays up the bill when talking to the companies who are pushing it!

    This could be the issue which shows whether the EU government is for sale to big business like the US government or whether it can act democratically!
  • The problem is that the Commission is unaccountable since it is not elected. The Parliament has shown some initiative in limiting this stupid idea to patent software. There have been suggestions that McCreevy (the Commissioner in question) is acting in his own country's interest to the detriment of the entire EU. Ireland is where most US companies are and they only pay 10% tax.

    McCreevy was formerly the Irish Finance Minister.

    Go figure......
  • The only way to punish the commission for this. Send them a message they understand ! Vote NO to the referendum for the constitution in your country.

    Make your politicians know that you intend to vote no for this reason. Make the media know.
  • "CIID" is an insult too

    A "computer implemented invention" is as pure a software solution as a software solution can get, and by saying that it is an Invention in the sense of patent law, you subscribe to the partisan view of the Commission on this matter.

    Please don't make up short forms for this directive which contain the word "CII". There is no official shorthand and the one most used is "software patents directive" or "softpat directive". That's the term that has been circulating at the Commission as well as at the EP since 1997.

    If the software patents directive is referred backt to the Parliament after a round of scrutiny by the other DGs (not Internal Market only), it may well be renamed. Everybody detests the "CII" name, even EICTA says it is badly named.

    If the goal is not patentability of pure software, then "computer-assisted inventions" would be appropriate. When the means of implementation is a computer, the "invention" can only be software (as such), and that is how the term was actually defined by in 2000 by the EPO, when it was introduced. The same definition was incorporated in the Commission's draft in 2002. It is a word that implies a pro-software-patent credo. Please don't force your readers to recite this credo all the time.
  • Suppose the Commission is simply corrupted.
    Perhaps somebody should start "following the money".
  • Some comments on this article are very ill-informed about how the EU works. Voting "no" to the Constitutional Treaty will not make things any better.

    Decisions in the EU are not made by the Commission but by the Council of Ministers. Our government is actively promoting the extension of patents into software. See the literature published by the Patent Office and the transcript of the meeting held at the DTI on December 14th.
  • Let us hope the parliament now submits a revision of the patent directive which is a blank sheet of paper. One amendment - deleting it all, would make the point nicely

    In the mean time the EU 'constitution' vote is coming and offers a good chance for IT people to vote against europe and potentially get the UK out of it.