Feeds

Software patents loom large again

Forced back on agenda

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Europe's Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy on Monday launched an initiative that could re-open the controversial software patents debate.

As part of the initiative McCreevy has unveiled a public consultation on how future action in patent policy to create an EU-wide patent system can take account of "stakeholders' needs." The Commissioner is also looking for feedback as to how to improve the patent system in Europe.

Both individuals and businesses are invited to contribute to the consultation which will run until 31 March. In launching the initiative McCreevy said that the European Commission wants to make the single market for patents "a reality." He urged individuals and businesses to give their views on how that could be achieved.

Back in July 2005, the European Parliament voted by a huge majority to reject the Computer Implemented Inventions directive, which would have created a single EU-wide patent process for software-related inventions. The controversial directive had sparked bitter debates between big business and smaller software developers and technology firms.

The bill had been supported by the European pro-patent lobby, which included corporations such as Microsoft which claimed that the directive would encourage investment in research and development in Europe.

On the other hand, it was strongly opposed by anti-patent groups, including software developers IrishDev, who felt that it would result in a small number of large corporations owning the majority of patents. These groups argued that this would lead to restrictive licensing practices which could hinder innovation.

The directive had also been previously rejected by the European Parliament at committee level but as a result of a concerted push by McCreevy and the Commission, it was resurrected. McCreevy has long been a supporter of the patents directive and this latest move is unlikely to be welcomed by those opposing the bill.

Feedback obtained from those taking part in the consultation will form the basis of a hearing, which the Commission is organising in Brussels on 13 June.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

[Editor's note: in the original version of this article, Sun was referred to as a supporter of software patents. It is of course anything but ...]

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.