[Nottingham] Euro Software Patents

Robert Davies nottingham at mailman.lug.org.uk
Tue Jul 1 16:27:01 2003

An attempt to rush through (without ammendment) proposals by the European=20
Patent Office into a "Directive", to harmonise all EU states (and new=20
joiners) by a Labour MEP Arlene McCarthy appears to be thwarted.  According=
to this news item, a vote is scheduled now for September.



=46rom my contact with an East Midlands MEP today, who responded promptly w=
letter by email, there has to be some directive, due to some national paten=
t =20
courts upholding software patents already.  There are ammendments proposed =
which specifically exclude "generic software, algorithmns and business=20
processes", though software would be patentable if it met required standard=
of having a "technical effect".

Unfortunately it is a fairly complicated issue, and at every stage of these=
processes, technocrats from Patent offices are drafting the reports, and=20
making the proposals.  The UK office appeared to be fairly impervious to th=
comments made during past "public consultation of their proposals", they di=
not detail the views expressed, but used Sir Humphrey style phrases, such a=
"business broadly well received the proposals".

I am not sure where the Labour MEPs (or Lib Dems) stand on this issue, it w=
as =20
a Conservative that wrote to me, the researcher who rang back described the=
stance "as broadly in line with the Governments, ironically apparently more=
so than many of the Labour MEPs".  The Conservative even mentioned Open=20
Source advocates in his response, so it is clear that polite and coherent=20
activism is making it's mark.

Anyone interested should consider making contact, as per the www.eurolinux.=
site, it would appear to me, to be an important time to let MEPs know that=
there are voters who will be holding them accountable on this issue.