Feeds

EC begins new pan-European patent love-in

Or is it a war?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Yesterday's public hearing on the future of pan-European patent legislation has been hailed as "day one" in a new war on software patents, as support gathers for the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA).

Commissioner Charlie McCreevy maintained his backing for the EPLA, which he describes as a promising route forwards.

But critics of the scheme argue that it will make the cost of pursuing a patent lawsuit even higher than it already is, and accuse McCreevy of siding with big business. They also worry that the EPLA would give too much power to the European Patent Office, without a corresponding increase in accountability.

The EPO is also regularly criticised for granting patents with too broad a scope, and free-software advocates are concerned that under an EPLA, more software and business method-type patents would be granted.

Anti-software patent campaigner Florian Mueller was one of around 50 people to address the hearing, which had around 200 attendees. The vast majority of those speaking were supporters of the EPLA, but there were a few surprising dissenters, such as "Nokia's Tim Frain [who] voiced a sceptical position on the EPLA", Mueller said.

Frain outlined six areas of concern including comparative costs, the quality of judicial decisions, and "a need to balance the interests of right holders and alleged infringers", Mueller added.

Frain told the hearing that while the EPLA in its proposed form is "good for right holders", Nokia is not always the plaintiff, but sometimes the defendant in patent lawsuits.

He said that Nokia was also worried about a pan-European litigation process, since Nokia generally only enforces its patents one country at a time. He worries that a pan-European injunction would be disruptive for business.

Mueller predicts the next step for the Commission will be to determine whether or not the EU needs to be involved in finalising the details and application of the EPLA. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
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

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.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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?