Feeds

The patent vote: who won that round, exactly?

Victory for all

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

After this week's surprising defeat of the European directive on Computer Implemented Inventions, there is a strange consensus emerging from the press offices of nearly all the campaigning groups. The rejection of the bill by parliament has been welcomed by almost everyone involved, and naturally, everyone is claiming it as a victory.

Anti-software patent campaigners have welcomed the vote wholeheartedly, and have even begun sniggering quietly at the pro-patent lobbyists for the amount of cash they've been hurling at the whole thing.

Speaking to The Register on Wednesday, campaigner Florian Muller had argued that the methods employed by the pro-patent camp had failed. "The lobbying costing millions of Euros hasn't worked, because it was misleading."

He went on to say that pure software firms like SAP adding their voices to support the directive had ended up undermining it, because it revealed that the pro-patent lobby was not sincere in its protestations that no pure software patents would be allowed.

In a statement released today, Muller said that the pro-patent camp was now trying to salvage a victory. "If I had spent so much money, I'd want to walk out of the shop with something more than a failed attempt to enshrine software patents in European statutory law," he said. "They could have had that for free any time."

The Business Software Alliance, one of the loudest pro-patent lobby groups, has very generously said that it respects the vote of the European Parliament, and further, that it supports its call for a period of reflection.

"Although we would have welcomed a harmonisation of laws throughout Europe, at least the intellectual property protection that innovators had yesterday will remain the same tomorrow - and that is critical for European competitiveness," said Francisco Mingorance, BSA, the BSA's European director of public policy.

"We commend the Parliament for acting with courage and prudence in resisting the fierce offensive of those who wanted to weaken Europe's intellectual property system," he added.

Microsoft would not comment on the outcome of the vote, referring all queries instead to EICTA, the pan-European trade body for high-tech firms. EICTA, despite having campaigned hard to have parliament pass the bill, also commended MEPS for rejecting "legislation that could have narrowed the scope of patent legislation in Europe".

Likewise, the Campaign for Creativity, representing small businesses in support of the bill, also claimed a victory. Its website now bears the legend: "CII (Computer Implemented Inventions) saved in Europe".

But for the Free Software Foundation, Europe, the suggestion that a strong directive would have prevented technology from being patented, is a distraction from what the real debate has been about.

"This outcome does not affect patents on high-tech inventions in any way," explains Stefano Maffulli, a spokesman for the group.

"High-tech innovation has always been patentable, and even if the directive had been passed with all proposed amendments, it would have remained patentable. It is important to point this out because the proponents of software logic patents have tried to confuse people about high-tech inventions being subject of this directive." ®

Related stories

EU Parliament bins software patent bill
Vendors warn Euro patents bill won't add up
Yet more campaigning on software patents

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
ONE MILLION people already running Windows 10
A third of them are doing it in VMs, but early feedback focuses on frippery
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Do Moan! MONSTER 6-day EMAIL OUTAGE hits Domain Monster
Customers freaked out by frightful service
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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.
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?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.