Feeds

Poland blocks software patents again

Dangerous precedent?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Poland has intervened again to stop the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries from rubber-stamping the EU directive on computer implemented inventions.

Late last week, the controversial legislation, better known as the software patent directive, was reported to be an A-List item on the agenda of the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries. This would have seen it voted through to its second reading.

Polish under-secretary from the ministry for science and IT, Wlodzimierz Marcinski, first made his opposition to the directive known last year. He said: "Poland is determined to opt for unambiguous expression in the law of the European Union on issues connected with the patentability of computer-implemented inventions, which at the same time must ascertain that computer programs are excluded from patentability."

Thanks to the second Polish intervention, the vote has been delayed. Opponents of the bill say that the JURI committee (responsible for legal affairs) now has a window of opportunity to restart the whole process. JURI is scheduled to meet in Brussels on 2 and 3 February, and Florian Muller of pressure group No Software Patents, says there is a good chance that the committee would vote to restart.

So what will happen next?

"That is the $64,000 question," says Jeremy Philpott, a spokesman for the UK Patent Office. "Don't forget we are looking at adoption of a common position here. If it is adopted, it will move on to its second reading. If it isn't, it'll just lie of the fringes of the parliament."

He suggests that it would be better to send it forward to its second reading, and deal with any perceived problems there, rather than try to unpick it.

Going back to the beginning, even on legislation as controversial as this, could set a worrying precedent for lawmaking in Europe, Philpott warns. The alternative is a scenario where even the most basic tenets of a piece of legislation would be open to negotiation right up to the last minute, inevitably drawing out the process and making it more difficult to pass laws, he says.

"Some commentators have concerns about unpicking a common position. The common position is a point which all parties have agreed to, from which you don't backtrack." ®

Related stories

Dozen claim MS codec patents
Hand over the code, judge tells IBM
Europe must invest more in IT research: report
IBM pledges 500 patents to OS developers

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?