Feeds

MEPs vote to restrain pan-Europe patents

Broadly approved, though

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The European Parliament today adopted the compromise resolution on patent policy put forward by a coalition of MEPs, by a majority of 494 to 109 votes. Parliament made some further amendments to the resolution, which already sought to restrain parliament's approval of the contentious EPLA (European Patent Litigation Agreement).

The original resolution has been championed by Commissioner Charlie McCreevy. At first it was very strongly pro-EPLA, and at one stage it looked like parliament was getting ready to vote it down.

But last week, after McCreevy acknowledged some of the concerns about the draft, a compromise was put forward that would allow the Parliament to broadly support the EPLA, but require certain amendments to the text. Exactly what those amendments where was not specified, leading some anti-patent campaigners to complain that the compromise resolution was too vague.

Critics of the EPLA were concerned that the agreement would remove democratic control from the granting of patents, put too much power in the hands of the EPO (European Patent Office) and result in increased litigation costs, particularly harmful for small businesses.

They were also concerned that by putting the EPO in charge, the EPLA effectively paved the way for software patents to be officially granted in the EU.

The compromise agreement does deal with some of these issues, but some watchers see a longer battle ahead.

Particularly significant, we are told, is amendment number seven, which officially voiced the Parliament's "concerns about democratic control, judicial independence and litigation costs".

"The good news is that the EP is the first institution to have raised major objections concerning the draft EPLA in its present form. The bad news is that the EP stopped short of throwing a spanner in the EPLA works, and we have yet to find the first political body to oppose the EPLA in stronger terms," long-time anti-software patent campaigner Florian Mueller said.

The FFII, meanwhile, says it welcomes the overall result, describing it as a far cry from the original draft, which "almost unequivocally" supported the EPLA. It says it is not happy that the amended compromise still cedes so much power to Europe's bureaucracy, but says it is "80 per cent happy with the result". ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.