Feeds

Software patents back to haunt Europe

Brussels braces for the next battle

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Intellectual property lobbyists are warning that new plans to shake up Europe's policy on patents could put patentable software back on the menu, as well as upping legal fees and putting small businesses in jeopardy.

Last year, the European parliament spectacularly voted to reject the proposed directive on Computer Implemented Inventions (CII) after anti-patent campaigners argued the bill was too broad in its scope.

Now, just over 12 months later, the issue looks set to return as the European Parliament is scheduled to vote next month on two motions for a resolution on European policy on patenting.

One proposal, the European Patent Litigation Agreement, essentially calls for the harmonising of patent laws across signatory states. It would mean an integrated judicial system and appeals process.

Parliament is due to vote on the proposal on 11 October, but three political organisations have filed a motion calling for "balance between the interests of patent holders...and of the public".

The draft has already been strongly criticised by anti-patent campaigners and businesses alike.

The three groups fighting the proposal now, the Greens, the European Socialists, and the GUE/NGL group, argue that it will increase litigation costs and, according to the critics, expose small and medium sized businesses to greater risks.

Critics also warn it would give too much power to the EPO, which hasn't got the best track record on granting software patents, without a corresponding increase in accountability.

Internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy has been accused of ducking questions on the proposal. The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure issued a statement describing McCreevy's responses to Parliamentary questions about the draft agreement as "a boiler plate text".

"In a series of six non-answers to members of the European parliament, the commission reveals that until now it is unable to comment on cost, judicial independence, jurisprudence, and treaty-related concerns. Meanwhile, McCreevy keeps praising the virtues of said draft agreement," the group said.

Instead of more litigation, it argued, Europe needs a better patent office.

PES spokeswoman for legal affairs Maria Berger and former French prime minister Michel Rocard said in a statement: "We are all for improvements to the European patent system, but we must continue the search for solutions within the framework of the EU. That includes the need for democratic control and truly independent courts." ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
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.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.