Feeds

Software patents back to haunt Europe

Brussels braces for the next battle

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.