Feeds

MEPs vote to restrain pan-Europe patents

Broadly approved, though

Application security programs and practises

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". ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.