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EU Rapporteur Publishes Software Patent

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the listen-up dept.

Patents 172

Sanity writes "Michel Rocard, economist and former French prime minister, has just published a report on the European Software Patents Directive. He is the European Parliament's draftsperson or "rapporteur" on the directive, and so it is likely that his views will be taken very seriously. The anti-software patent lobby group FFII like the report, saying that it "contains all the necessary ingredients for a directive that achieves what most member state governments say they want to achieve: to exclude computer programs from patentability while allowing computer-controlled technical inventions to be patented." The Directive will have its second reading on July 6th."

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patent this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12300980)

*shakes fist*

Official english translation of the report. (0, Redundant)

nietsch (112711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301162)

beware of the pdf [eu.int] .
5 pages of bureaucrat speak i am not going to post on slashdot.

Back on topic. (5, Informative)

ehack (115197) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301549)

The last line of the summary is the deadliest:

to assure interoperability ... when the use of a patented technique is necessary only to achieve interoperability between two systems, such use should not be considered as patent infringement.

I think MS (XML Word files etc) and HP, Lexmark et co (printer cartridges) and lotsa other people who want you to put Ford Petrol in Ford cars are not going to like this :)

BTW, the summary is concise and extremely clear - I wonder why the parent talked about bureaucratic jargon ?

(pour assurer l'interopérabilité, renforcement de la confirmation des droits découlant des articles 5 et 6 de la directive 91/250, par le fait que lorsque le recours à une technique brevetée est nécessaire à la seule fin d'assurer l'interopérabilité entre deux systèmes, ce recours ne soit pas considéré comme une contrefaçon de brevet.)

lol jews (0, Troll)

Opportunist Troll (873090) | more than 9 years ago | (#12300982)

A FAT COCK IN YOUR ARSE

lol negroes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301072)

What about the coons?

im confused (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12300985)

Does this mean that a computer simulation of a patented product or technique would be legal?

Re:im confused (5, Informative)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301086)

What Michel Rocard has done is specify that to be patentable, a software must be controlling the forces of nature. Thus simulations are out, software controlling a robotic arm is in.

Re:im confused (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301171)

How tightly is "controlling the forces of nature" defined? After all, one could argue that controlling the flow of electrons in a microchip (which software obviously does when you run it on a normal computer) would also be controlling the (electromagnetic) forces of nature.

Re:im confused (3, Informative)

Johan Veenstra (61679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301231)

I suggest you read the article. No this is not just another RTFA comment. The article goes into this very subject. The clarity of the article supprising.

Re:im confused (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301503)

"The clarity of the article supprising."

Is it as surprising as your awful spelling?

Guess they forgot to buy him out :-) (3, Funny)

Delgul (515042) | more than 9 years ago | (#12300987)

Bidding can now start...

Re:Guess they forgot to buy him out :-) (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12300994)

Maybe "no patents"-organisations already did ;)

Re:Guess they forgot to buy him out :-) (3, Informative)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301337)

Don't worry the decision is being made in the middle of the summer (July) when most members of parliament are away on a few weeks holidays. Since an abstention/absence counts as a yes vote, it'll likely walk through.

Re:Guess they forgot to buy him out :-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301451)

Actually, politicians & co usually take their vacations in August. But yes, some of them could be away.

As for abstension counting as a yes vote...."In the mood for trolling..."

so which is it ? (4, Interesting)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 9 years ago | (#12300990)

to exclude computer programs from patentability while allowing computer-controlled technical inventions to be patented.

They sound like one in the same to me. A computer controls my web browser and it certainly is a technical invention to *some* degree. So this would enjoy patent protection and it wouldn't at the same time.

Or are they just trying to talk about heart-beat monitors and stuff like that ? They should be more clear otherwise it sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Re:so which is it ? (4, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301003)

They should be more clear otherwise it sounds like a recipe for disaster.
They are. In fact, much of it is legalese to make precisely the distinction you're making. Never assume the ambivalence and poor writing in a slashdot summary is an accurate representation of the original source.

Re:so which is it ? (2)

OccidentalSlashy (809265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301013)

I don't speak much French, but I have a good semantic sense, so what they're saying to me is that since an invention can be broken down into components, then they can choose which part of an invention falls under the law. A web browser is computer-controlled of course (unless it's buggy and out of control). But its innovations exist directly as software. You can't patent the BLINK tag and you can't patent the whole of HTML and you everything in between!

Remember, France has had the Web better than us for 30 years. Google for "Minitel"...they're more advanced than us. Yes and their women are hot. I'm learning French!

Re:so which is it ? (3, Insightful)

zeux (129034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301060)

Come on, don't tell me that you think that the report is actually the slashdot headline.

As usual, the slashdot headline IS misleading, the report, believe me, is much more clear on this topic.

Please, RTFR.

Re:so which is it ? (5, Informative)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301078)

Actually he differentiates between the industrial application of science and algorithms to that of software.

He differentiates between these by re-defining caractère technique, or the character of being technical, as:
Domaine technique désigne un domaine industriel d'application nécessitant l'utilisation de
forces contrôlables de la nature pour obtenir des résultats prévisibles dans le monde
physique

What this means is that only technical solutions that use natural forces (or natural science) that produce a foreseeable result in the physical world can be patented. This bars software, which is immaterial, from being patented.

Therefore, in your example, the solutions or processes of making your monitor or keyboard could be patented, but your web browser could not, and neither could the web browser's display and rendering of HTML and so on.

Again, IANAL, and my french is a bit rusty. But that is what I understand.

Re:so which is it ? (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301357)

> Therefore, in your example, the solutions or processes of making your monitor or keyboard could be patented, but your web browser could not, and neither could the web browser's display and rendering of HTML and so on.

It's already covered by "classical" patents. The meaning is broader. Taking a similar exemple, you might be able to patent the software controlling a force-feedback joystick along with the hardware - that is, the software itself isn't patentable but software+hardware is.

But the border remains unclear (to me) :
What about the LZW algorith used in modem's hardware ? At a time Unisys policy was to "tax" only hardware application of the algorithm...

What about creating a force-feedback with similar algorithms? Software means nothing : it's already covered by copyright so it isn't useful to protect a company to prevent others to use the same software with another joystick, therefore you need to understand software as a set of algorithms, and then the other joystick-making company will be in trouble using a set of patented algorithms...

(There was recently an article on Slashdot about a force-feedback patent but I didn't find a link)

Re:so which is it ? (1)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301461)

As these algorithms are not applications of natural science, it seems they would not, according to M. Rocard, be patentable.

The only things that have technical characteristics are those things which are derivations of natural forces and sciences. Hardware-embedded algorithms would not be patentable.

It has less to do with the medium of the innovation (hardware, software) than with the innovation's processes itself.

It might be a good idea to get Slashdot to interview Michel Rocard. It would be interesting to say the least.

I say (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12300997)

Hooray for the French!

(this post exists solely to see if the Americans moderators on /. can overcome their indigenous [and irrational] anti-French sentiment)

Re:I say (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301033)

Don't forget Poland France.

Re:I say (2, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301040)

Slashdot hates the STRIKE tag.

Don't forget Poland^H^H^H^H^H France

ladida. Waiting for my 2minutes. Doo, doo, doo. Oh crap. Only been 46 seconds. Shet. Doo, doo, doo. 1 minute now. ding, dong, ding dong. I guess the President is going to surrender to Microsoft eh? Shit, how long does 2 minutes take to pass?

Re:I say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301183)

Shit, how long does 2 minutes take to pass?

about 120 seconds...

Re:I say (1)

indifferent children (842621) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301258)

about 120 seconds...

Unless they are Imperial minutes (143.7 seconds) or metric minutes (200 seconds).

Re:I say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301313)

I think Imperial minutes would probably be something like 143 7/16ths seconds.

Re:I say (-1, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301096)

There's nothing irrational about being anti-French. The Americans just happen to have trouble putting into words why they hate the French, whereas everyone else on the planet is happy to shout it from the rooftops.

Re: et moi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301163)


le post parent devrait être moddé +5 funny, c'est tellement ridicule que s'en est drole!

et non je ne suis pas un troll français.

Re: et moi (translation) (1)

Reorax (629666) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301195)

The parent post developed another mode, namely +5 funny. The ridiculous telephone, which is cestfully clean, is very droll. And no, Jane is not a troll, she's merely French.

Re: et moi (right translation) (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301314)

not exactly (or maybe i respond to tr-tr-troll?)

"the the parent post should be modded +5 funny, it's so ridiculous that's becomming droll.

and no i am not a french troll"

AMERICANS ARE STUPID (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301144)

They voted for bush, therefore they should be placed under a worldwide embargo.

Re:AMERICANS ARE STUPID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301237)

They voted for bush, therefore they should be placed under a worldwide embargo.

Pah. Shoot on sight I say!

thanks to the crow ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12300999)

I remember Rocard carricatured as a Crow in a French Political Satir Show in the end 80's....

Thanks Michel, from a guy that cannot do anything against SP in EU (i live in a non-member country of the EU, but in the middle of Europe, and we conclude some "billateral" so we will depend on EU SP politic)

Michel Rocard (5, Interesting)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301001)

Agree or not with his past politics, there is no doubt in my mind that Michel Rocard is one of those extremely rare honest politicians. As soon as I had heard that he would be the "rapporteur" for the software patent directive, I breathed a sight of relief. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Re:Michel Rocard (1)

gnarlin (696263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301082)

Or the headlight of a speeding train!

Re:Michel Rocard (4, Interesting)

zeux (129034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301119)

The biggest problem with Michel Rocard is that he is too intelligent.

Usually, when he speaks, nobody understand him and that's why he didn't make it very high in politics.

But I agree that he definitely is one of the last honest politicians.

He has been against software patents since the very beginning partly because he is probably the only one who really understands what they are all about and partly because money can't buy him.

Read the report, you'll see what I mean.

By the way, he is a socialist.

Re:Michel Rocard (1, Insightful)

daclink (781480) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301185)

Usually, when he speaks, nobody understand him and that's why he didn't make it very high in politics.

He was president of France from 1988 to 1991, how much higher can you go!

Re:Michel Rocard (5, Informative)

alexhs (877055) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301209)

> He was president of France from 1988 to 1991, how much higher can you go!

No, he was Prime Minister (as is Jean-Pierre Raffarin now)
President was François Mitterand (from 1981 to 1995)

You don't need to be elected to become minister.

Re:Michel Rocard (1)

daclink (781480) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301229)

My mistake, I read http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocId=9063942 / [britannica.com] and assumed that premier = president. He still did fairly well, but like you say he wasn't elected.

Re:Michel Rocard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301259)

Easy: in french, "president" spells... "president" ;-)

Re:Michel Rocard (1)

Pascal Sartoretti (454385) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301531)

Usually, when he speaks, nobody understand him

I don't agree. Rocard is able to talk about complex things, and everytime you learn something or your view on the subject changes.
Contrast this to people like Bush or Chirac:

everybody can understand every single word they say

taken alone, every sentence makes sense

but when you compare their words to their acts, you understand that it was only BS.

that's why he didn't make it very high in politics

Four years minister, plus three years prime minister: not so bad to me...

Re:Michel Rocard (1)

TwentyTwo (876854) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301176)

He his one of those that helps me keeping faith in european politics and politicians. And I must admit that despite the fact I am not on his political side, he did a work of rare quality and objectiveness.

Re:Michel Rocard (1)

ssj_195 (827847) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301571)

It's always uplifting to see a politician with a keen, sharp mind and a sense of honesty and integrity - in a world where politicians are frequently stupid (incapable of participating in a debate without resorting to pure rhetoric and soundbites), dishonest, and looking only to further their careers, it is a breath of fresh air. This letter [theregister.co.uk] is one of my favourite examples of the former.

Thank you Michel ! (3, Insightful)

Jules Labrie (756572) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301002)

A former prime-minister who can understand the Open-Source and IT, it only deserves respect !

Turning out to be.. (4, Interesting)

Suhas (232056) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301004)

...be a good day. First India, then EU. When is Canada joining the club?

Re:Turning out to be.. (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301020)

And more important, when the US will repent?

Re:Turning out to be.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301050)

Hehe, I think that was the whole point of the grandparent post...subtle sarcasm, if you will.

Re:Turning out to be.. (5, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301071)

And more important, when the US will repent?

After Patent Apocalypse sends the American software industry back to year zero.

It's only a matter of time before a major corporation with a massive patent portfolio starts failing, and looks like going out of business. Doesn't really matter who. But they'll have an option open: give up producing software and pursue patent litigation. Become SCO writ large.

What happens to the industry in the USA when that happens? What if it goes further - what if there's a full-scale patent war between the big players?

Answer: total havoc. Everything infringes on someone's patent. When the entire industry in the USA grinds to a halt, but all is well in Europe, that's when the US will repent.

Re:Turning out to be.. (2, Insightful)

heikkile (111814) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301095)

When the entire industry in the USA grinds to a halt, but all is well in Europe, that's when the US will repent.

Could happen a bit earlier, already when there is a huge software market in the rest of the world, but most companies refuse to sell their stuff to the USA for fear of silly litigation. This might not be too far away.

Re:Turning out to be.. (1)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301151)

This is true for hardware too.

Not because of patents but...

Companies don't sell their stuff in the US or are hesitant to enter the market, because they are afraid of ridiculus lawsuits.

Also the "I just need it today" shopper that returns the stuff after a day or 2 and expects a full refund. A company can't repackage these and sell them as new, so they are basicly worthless. There are people in jail for having done that.

Re:Turning out to be.. (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301252)

What happens to the industry in the USA when that happens? What if it goes further - what if there's a full-scale patent war between the big players?

The problem with this view is that the big players are still interested in producing some kind of product in great volume, so they usually settle for cross-licensing agreements. What it's going to take is a few more companies like Eolas who are actually trying to hit up the big players. Even then, Congress will miss the point (intentionally or otherwise) without some convincing on our part.

Re:Turning out to be.. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301283)

that's the point of that it would happen if one of the big players would *fail* in normal business.

then they would have no products left, or could sell their entire portfolio to some other company with no products(but enough money). imagine the amount of patents on.. say, ibm.. those patents in hands of someone without product/services could sue just fucking everybody.

Computer controlled technical invention? (2, Insightful)

NickHydroxide (870424) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301009)

Can someone please explain how he distinguishes computer controlled technical inventions from "computer programs"? I really see no particular distinction. The difference between the term 'computer-controlled' and 'computer-implemented' to me seems to merely be an issue of semantics.

Perhaps there's some particular scientific viewpoint he has in mind.

FTA:
"Rocard explains the difference between applied natural science and data processing."

I'm still unsure as to what it means.

Re:Computer controlled technical invention? (4, Interesting)

jdifool (678774) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301047)

Computer controlled technical inventions are, for instance, the different types of monitors (LCD, plasma, whatever), optical, wireless mouses, motherboards switches... All these devices present technical innovations, and then, should be, in MR's mind, patentable.

Computer programs, on the other hand, are the internal immaterial parts of logic that, assembled in some way (whether good or bad), make the former tools work together....

Well, you got the picture, don't you ?

IMO, this is not a bad distinction. Software patents is such a quagmire when it comes to law. At least, I could endure such a bill.
And, still IMO, MR in one of our most intelligent and honest politicians still alive, despite his irritating fatalism.

Hope it helps,
jdif

Re:Computer controlled technical invention? (1)

2Bits (167227) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301157)

Ok, according to your description, the distinction is fine. But I don't think I could agree with this fact that such a mere distinction could justify that software can not be patented, and basically, that means only hardware and stuff can be patented.

Before you pull your gun and shoot at me, I must declare first that I hate this idiotic patenting system as any ./er here.

According to your distinction here, I think it's a bit unfair to those who work in software and math, and as matter of fact, anyone working in what you called "immaterial", don't you think? Those people working on hardware do not create everything out of the vacuum, they base a lot of knowledge on the knowledge developed by other people. And so do programmers and math geeks.

Now, let me give an extreme example. Let's say I just use commodity PC hardware, and create an amazing program that does amazing thing, say, make that PC fly from NY to SF (I said extreme already!). That relies only on software. Do I have the right to patent that invention or not? According to your distinction here, probably not. There's no innovation in "computer controlled technical inventions" at all. It's pure software.

Re:Computer controlled technical invention? (1)

nikai (614442) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301190)

Let's say I just use commodity PC hardware, and create an amazing program that does amazing thing, say, make that PC fly from NY to SF (I said extreme already!). That relies only on software. Do I have the right to patent that invention or not? According to your distinction here, probably not. There's no innovation in "computer controlled technical inventions" at all. It's pure software.

Well, the problem is that according to current practice in the European Patent Office, this qualifies as a technical invention, and not a software patent. Another real life example: A computer screen is hardware, right? So, according to the European Patent Office, a progress bar which is displayed on a computer screen is a technical invention, and not a software patent. Now tell me again this is a good distinction.

Re:Computer controlled technical invention? (1)

jdifool (678774) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301261)

This is precisely what MR tries to fix here, by introducing a finely tuned distinction barring the EPO from implementing a 'free-market' patenting policy.

If this memorandum is pushed forward hard enough, then the EPO will have to reassert its 50,000 patents, and won't be able anymore nor to assign others nor to pressure, by its existence, the harmonization of legislations towards a recognization of software patents.

Don't mix things up, software patents, for now, mean nothing when brought up in courts. This is what is at stake now.

Regards,
jdif

Re:Computer controlled technical invention? (1)

jdifool (678774) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301301)

The point is not to say 'don't protect people who create things, wheter they are material or immaterial', the point is to say 'tiny bits of immaterial creations cannot be protected under the patent legislation, for it would be just like confiscating words instead of protecting books'.

As far as i know, software are protected by copyrights, or 'droit d'auteurs' in French. There are several differences between national legislations on that point, but hey, this is another problem.

Eventually, your example is extreme, because you imply that a set of algorithms could, without any physical intermediary, produce physical impact. This is, IMO, impossible. If you create a software that takes care of the spare energy of your computer to animate two wings, then ok, but your innovation isn't physical, since you didn't create a new way of using elements, let's say. Your program calculates something and brings this something into a very physical instrument (here, wings, that may have been, though I really don't know, patented).

MR borrows Einstein's idea ; maths cannot be patented ; they belong to the common pool.

Regards,
jdif

Re:Computer controlled technical invention? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301238)

Also, the "obvious" part should be defined as "not inherent in the solution of the problem being opposed.

So "one-click" shopping fails because the problem is "how do we make this easier to shop with". One obvious thing is to reduce the number of steps to cimplete the purchase.

It would also strip most compression algo's (get rid of redundant data - obvious) and encryption (use this mathematical algo to mangle output - obvious). It could still leave the unobvious questions patentable. PKI protection against man-in-the-middle attacks, for example, can be produced in several ways. The key production (apart from the specific algorithm, which is not patentable) is obvious - use a secure algorithm.

Ta.

Re:Computer controlled technical invention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301245)

The objects you say are patentable but aren't software, so this debate aren't about those at all.

The softs that can be patented must be part of a process involving a machine, like for example, the control software of a machine tool.

Those are software that can be patented.

Re:Computer controlled technical invention? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301057)

I think the idea is that for something to be patentable, there has to be some kind of hardware aspect too (i.e. hardware specific to the invention in question).

Re:Computer controlled technical invention? (2, Insightful)

terminal.dk (102718) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301178)

Correct. One example is an oven which uses a computer to ensure that chicken skin is always crisp. Then this device is clearly patentable.

A TV displaying MPEG4 and one displaying AVI are probably not patentable.

Re:Computer controlled technical invention? (1)

Johan Veenstra (61679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301256)

I seriously doubt if anyone one slashdot can explain it any better than Rocard himself (and yes there is an english translation). Don't be afraid of any legalese, the report is as clear as crystal.

A Google translation of Rocard document (-1, Redundant)

mincognito (839071) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301011)

Legal Affairs Committee 2005-04-13 Working Document on the patentability of the inventions controlled by computer (2002/0047 (COD)) Rapporteur: Michel Rocard the Council of Ministers finally adopted a joint position on the patentability of the inventions implemented by computer to allow that the debate in second reading is held. Five Member States voted while letting know in writing that they voted to resolve the procedure, but which they wished to see the text modified by the Parliament. Our dissension of the first turn was heard. This text is essential as well economically (a few tens of annual billion euros are concerned) that politically or philosophically: it is about the statute of the diffusion of the knowledge and the ideas in the company. It is a short, but bearing text on an extremely complex matter. For two years that it is in debate, it has clearly appeared that in the difficulty of finding solutions consensual, the dissensions on the definitions and the misunderstandings are much more significant than the dissensions on the bottom. I made draw up a note of precise and detailed analysis of the subject. It is long. At the time when I write this letter to you, I am not sure of being able to translate it into English. I however hope to give it to you to all in French and English. But in fact, for the debate without text from April 21 in Brussels, I prefer, before depositing my proposals for an amendment officially, to propose to you to think together on the problem which is posed to us, and of his intellectual treatment. Because in this short text, we have in fact only two problems serious, likely to nourish a conflict with the Commission and the Council: that of the delimitation of what is patentable and of what is not it, and interworking. If the Parliament and finally the Council follow the orientations that we propose to them, the problem of interworking will be regulated of this fact. It is thus necessary to start by dealing with the delimitation. Which is the question? It results from contradiction between the legal system and the inherited tradition on the one hand, and the needs for remuneration for the investments and safety for the large-scale industry supported by the recent drifts for the patentability in the United States, and to a lesser extent with the European Patent Office, on the other hand. All our legal systems, and especially Convention on the European patent signed in 1973 in Munich establish clearly that the software is not patentable (art 52.2. CBE). However there exists more than 150000 patents of this type in the United States, without legal base and about 50000 with the European Patent Office, at dubious legal base and unequally valid in front of our national laws. The striking down development of data processing has extended for twenty years with all the branches from our industries and our services. Beyond the professional uses, there is no more one object of everyday consumption which does not comprise integrated softwares: portable cars, telephones, televisions, video tape recorders, washing machines, orders of elevators, etc. All that is expensive to develop. It is normal, and desirable, that industry can patent the results of its investments to ensure remuneration and to protect them from it from the counterfeit and the unfair competition. The regulation of the physical processes implemented within the inventions is a very old problem: it took innumerable forms, mechanics or tires in particular. To develop of such regulations, patentable when they were themselves innovating in their realization, was extremely expensive. To replace by software, whose production and development cost is much weaker, an enormous economy represents. That led to their multiplication. But a software is of another nature. It is about the immaterial one. In fact, a software is the combination in an original work of one or more algorithms, i.e. a whole of mathematical formulas. However like said it Albert Einstein, a mathematical formula is not patentable. It is of the order of the ideas, as a book, or an oxymoron, or a musical agreement. Since millenia, the knowledge was built and diffused by the copy and the improvement, it is -àdire by the free access to the ideas. The fact that the modern savoirs, at least those which have some relationship with logic or the quantification, can more conveniently be expressed in the form of software should not in no case to result in giving up the principle of the free access which is the only one to guarantee the capacity buissonnante that has humanity to constantly create of new savoirs. Compatibility between these two contradictory requirements is required for a long time, and this research is the object of the Directive in question. The common direction, like the jurisprudence of certain offices of Patents, tends to saying that what is patentable, it is the invention, and not the software which can be necessary to its control. The texts of reference as the jurisprudence of the OEB express this difference while speaking about "technical contribution", until there everyone agrees absolutely. To be patentable indeed, an invention: * must be new; * must not be not obvious; * must be suitable for industrial application; * must be technical. The technical character is defined like the capacity to give a technical solution to a technical problem, i.e. to belong to a technical field and to have a technical effect. But the word of "technique" is not defined, if it is not by "the use of average techniques" or worse still by the simple need for "technical considerations". This tautology resulted in patenting all that took part in the realization of the invention, software or not. Moreover and especially, article 52.2 of the Convention of Munich stipulates that the software is not patentable "as such", which led by drift to obviously faulty interpretation that there would be a difference between the software as such and software incorporated in an invention or software like inventions, useful software briefs, and by there patentable. It is here that we have the duty of inno worm, that we innovated in first reading, and that the five or six Member States which made state with the Council of their waiting of improvement wish that we find a solution. The drafting of the Parliament in first reading was can be a little dry and has surprised. But of very many talks and discussions, in particular with the representatives of the industrialists, confirmed that the way of research that we had explored was the maid. A software, formulation of an idea, is about the immaterial one. The work that it causes inside the computer him is internal and is not directly communicable with which or anything. One needs so that this work is communicable and has an effect which a part puts moving, which a signal electric, radio or luminous is, that information appears on a screen, or that any physical effect starts. What with the obviousness is patentable in fact the the sensors on the one hand and all the effector of the other supply the computer in manageable information by the software and which draw from the information finally produced by the software in its language a physical effect constituting the technical solution with the posed technical problem. The distinction that we seek thus separates the immaterial world from the material world or rather from the physical world. But each one of these two words is somewhat insufficient to cover all the field necessary. Material returns too much to the matter and not with energy, physics calls a palpable quality implicitly. The preference of your rapporteur goes to the following drafting, which would take seat in the article of the Directive, that which specifies the definitions; Technical field indicates an industrial field of application requiring the use of controllable forces of nature to obtain foreseeable results in the physical world. If it is admitted that even a simple signal, that it is electric, radio or luminous, is composed of energy, this formulation includes all the manners of collecting the immaterial information produced by the computer under the control of the software to produce an effect perceptible and usable by a machine or a man. I believe this definition including for all the real needs for industry, except good on that which tested some companies to control a chain of patented software depending the ones on the others to prohibit the access of competition to the activities downstream concerning industry and the invention in question, which with the obviousness we have the duty to prevent. All the other problems and thus all the other amendments are consequences of this initial choice. I suggest with my colleagues treating some only after we could put agreement to us, which is the object of the debate of the 21. So that the directive can allow the brevetage of inventions controlled by computer while preventing the patentability of the software, it will be necessary to intervene on the following points: * in order to clarify the range of the directive, replacement as much as possible of the term "invention implemented by computer" by the term "invention controlled by computer", or "computer-assisted", which illustrates well better than the software cannot belong to the design features of the claims of patent; * ion clear of the "technical field defines", as well positive as negative: on the one hand, it will have to be specified that a technical field is an industrial field of application requiring the use of controllable forces of nature to obtain foreseeable results in the physical world, thus limiting the technique in the physical world; in addition, it will have to be specified that the data processing is not regarded as a technical field within the meaning of the substantive patent law and so that the innovations as regards data processing do not constitute inventions within the meaning of the substantive patent law; defines nontautological io N of way of the concept of contribution technical and inventive step, and to specify for the latter that only the caractérist ic techniques of the inventions will have to be taken into account during its evaluation; * descript ion of the form of the claims in a way as well positive as negative, so that on the one hand the claims on the inventions controlled by computer can relate only to technical products or processes, and on the other hand that the claims of software, in themselves or on any support, are prohibited; * to ensure interworking, reinforcement of the confirmation of the rights rising from articles 5 and 6 of directive 91/250, by the fact that when the recourse to a patented technique is necessary to the only end to ensure interworking between two systems, this recourse is not regarded as a counterfeit of patent. According to the debate of April 21, my amendments will be developed and available very quickly afterwards.

Re:A Google translation of Rocard document (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301016)

Goddammn Karma Whore! Die mutthafuckah DIE!

Does it mean that much? (4, Interesting)

Kinniken (624803) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301014)

The report will certainly have some influence, but that it is very anti-patent is not surprising considering that Michel Rocard has been one of the leaders of the anti-patent side in the EP since the beginning.
The real question is wether he can use his significant influence in the EP (he is without doubt one of the political heavyweights there) to convince the many MEPs not very committed to the matter that it's worth picking a major fight with the Commission and the Council on. I wish he can, as much because I want software patents banished from Europe as because I want to see the EP extending its influence at the expense of the Commission and the Council.
Good luck, Michel, and thanks!

Re:Does it mean that much? (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301236)

The European Council already showed that they don't care [slashdot.org]

The majority of the EP is already against software patents, but the (unelected) council will probably ignore their choice again and again.

Nothing should be patented (1)

AlanS2002 (580378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301026)

Copyright sure, Trademark sure, Trade Secret same again. Patents, no valid empirical basis in reality (other than entrenched intrest) why these should be recognised.

Don't count your chickens! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301027)

He is the European Parliament's draftsperson or "rapporteur" on the directive, and so it is likely that his views will be taken very seriously.

Since when did the European Commission take the European Parliament seriously? Can't see this making much difference myself, so I won't be getting my hopes up just yet.

Re:Don't count your chickens! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301164)

Since they forced one commission to resign and blocked the appointment of a commissioner in another one?

Or, more to the point, because they can veto new legislation in this area?

That is not to say this report will definitely end the whole thing, but it's a good step since it will reinforce the EP's view on the matter.

Re:Don't count your chickens! (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301437)

Actually it appears that the European Commission doesn't even take the law seriously. Since there were objections to the CIID, it could not have been an A-item and it should not even be up for discussion at the parliament until the Commission itself hammers out the bugs.

A good start (3, Insightful)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301031)

Thank god atleast some political figures can't be bought off
(or atleast got bought off by someone i agree with for a change (Joke) ) .
as the Rapporteur his word will indeed hold a great deal of sway , lets just hope the money of the Software Patent lobby does'nt hold a greater ammount of sway .

This does not by any means confirm we have won this yet , I would ask people to write to their MEP (member of the European parliment) and urge that they Read this recomendation and also show your support
(if your anti all patents , then still support this as well , one brick at a time).

Democracy requires that we all do our part and make our voices heard .

2 successive good news about software patent (0)

Fossilet (735452) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301034)

I like it. :)

Pro-patent response from EICTA (4, Informative)

JPMH (100614) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301035)

EICTA has published a pro-swpat counter-response to Rocard's paper, here [cantos.com] , in advance of today's crucial meeting of the European Parliament's legal affairs committee (JURI).

IMO, EICTA's characterisation in the paper of how the proposed "controllable forces of nature" test was received at the recent UKPO worshops is highly misleading.

Re:Pro-patent response from EICTA (4, Insightful)

Sanity (1431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301089)

EICTA has published a pro-swpat counter-response to Rocard's paper, here, in advance of today's crucial meeting of the European Parliament's legal affairs committee (JURI).
Thanks for the link, this is interesting but predictable. From EICTA's paper:
While it is acknowledged that there may be room for further improving the definition of "technical contribution" as it stands in the Common Position, any definition or test based on "controllable forces of nature" or "physical forces" would exclude patents for intangible inventions, e.g. speech coding, communication protocols, radio signal handling, error correction, data compression etc., all of which are currently patentable and traditionally have been patentable for decades.
Firstly, all of these things are software patents, and these have not been patentable for decades, even in the US software patenting didn't really begin until about 1992.

Groups like the EICTA claim not to want software patents, but then they go on to provide such a narrow definition of "software patent" that it really doesn't apply to anything.

The broad conclusion from these workshops was that while definitions based on "physical forces" and "controllable forces of nature" may be more legally certain than the current definition, they are also (very) expansive, and would render almost all CII inventions unpatentable.
Correct, because "computer implemented inventions" are software patents! "Computer Implemented Inventions" is a term specifically invented by the pro-software patent lobby so that they could push for software patents without claiming that they are pushing for software patents. This is the level of honesty of the pro-software patent lobby in the EU.

Re:Pro-patent response from EICTA (1)

wine (211387) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301222)

The EICTA response has some rather misleading statements. For instance:
Increasingly software is being supplied as a "component" for enabling an invention. If that component cannot be the subject of a claim in a patent it means that the patent owner cannot stop unauthorised persons from distributing technical invention-enabling software, or operating websites from which such technical invention-enabling software can be freely downloaded. Put another way this would be a charter for pirates to supply what otherwise would be an infringing component of an invention merely because it is in the form of software.
They are confusing copyright (to which piracy is associated) and patent law in such a way that the Rocard's proposal almost seems to advocate the abolishment of copyright law.

Does this mean... (3, Interesting)

Phidoux (705500) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301051)

... that the EU will soon follow the example set by India?

The original directive(français) (2, Informative)

Fossilet (735452) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301067)

# I am interested in how many here can read français? Je un peu... Legal Affairs Committee 2005-04-13 Working Document sur la brevetabilité des inventions contrôlées par ordinateur (2002/0047 (COD)) Rapporteur: Michel Rocard Le conseil des ministres a enfin adopté une position commune sur la brevetabilité des inventions mises en oeuvre par ordinateur pour permettre que se tienne le débat en deuxième lecture. Cinq états membres ont voté en faisant savoir par écrit qu'ils votaient pour débloquer la procédure, mais qu'ils souhaitaient voir le texte modifié par le Parlement. Notre désaccord du premier tour a été entendu. Ce texte est essentiel aussi bien économiquement (quelques dizaines de milliards d'euros annuels sont en jeu) que politiquement ou philosophiquement : il s'agit du statut de la diffusion du savoir et des idées dans la société. C'est un texte court, mais portant sur une matière extrêmement complexe. Depuis deux ans qu'il est en débat, il apparaît clairement que dans la difficulté à trouver des solutions consensuelles, les désaccords sur les définitions et les malentendus sont beaucoup plus importants que les désaccords sur le fond. J'ai fait établir une note d'analyse du sujet précise et détaillée. Elle est longue. Au moment où je vous écris cette lettre, je ne suis pas sûr de pouvoir la faire traduire en anglais. J'espère pourtant vous la donner à tous en français et en anglais. Mais en fait, pour le débat sans texte du 21 avril à Bruxelles, je préfère, avant de déposer officiellement mes propositions d'amendements, vous proposer de réfléchir ensemble au problème qui nous est posé, et à son traitement intellectuel. Car dans ce texte court, nous n'avons en fait que deux problèmes sérieux, susceptibles de nourrir un conflit avec la Commission et le Conseil : celui de la délimitation de ce qui est brevetable et de ce qui ne l'est pas, et l'interopérabilité. Si le Parlement et finalement le Conseil suivent les orientations que nous leur proposons, le problème de l'interopérabilité se trouvera réglé de ce fait. Il faut donc commencer par s'occuper de la délimitation. Quelle est la question ? Elle résulte de la contradiction entre le système légal et la tradition héritée d'une part, et les besoins de rémunération des investissements et de sécurité de la grande industrie appuyés par les dérives récentes de la brevetabilité aux Etats Unis, et dans une moindre mesure à l'office européen des brevets, d'autre part. Tous nos systèmes légaux, et surtout la Convention sur le brevet européen signée en 1973 à Munich établissent clairement que les logiciels ne sont pas brevetables (art 52.2. de la CBE). Or il existe plus de 150000 brevets de ce type aux Etats Unis, sans base légale et de l'ordre de 50000 à l'Office européen des brevets, à base juridique incertaine et inégalement valides devant nos droits nationaux. Le développement foudroyant de l'informatique s'est étendu depuis vingt ans à toutes les branches de nos industries et de nos services. Au delà des usages professionnels, il n'y a plus un objet de consommation courante qui ne comporte de logiciels intégrés : voitures, téléphones portables, télévisions, magnétoscopes, machines à laver, commandes d'ascenseurs, etc. Tout cela coûte cher à mettre au point. Il est normal, et souhaitable, que l'industrie puisse breveter les résultats de ses investissements pour en assurer la rémunération et les protéger de la contrefaçon et de la concurrence déloyale. La régulation des procédés physiques mis en oeuvre au sein des inventions est un très ancien problème : elle a pris d'innombrables formes, mécaniques ou pneumatiques notamment. Mettre au point de telles régulations, brevetables lorsqu'elles étaient elles-mêmes innovantes dans leur réalisation, était extrêmement coûteux. Les remplacer par des logiciels, dont le coût de développement et de production est bien plus faible, représente une énorme économie. Cela a poussé à leur multiplication. Mais un logiciel est d'une autre nature. Il est de l'ordre de l'immatériel. En fait, un logiciel est la combinaison en une oeuvre originale d'un ou plusieurs algorithmes, c'est à dire un ensemble de formules mathématiques. Or comme l'a dit Albert Einstein, une formule mathématique n'est pas brevetable. Elle est de l'ordre des idées, comme un livre, ou une alliance de mots, ou un accord musical. Depuis des millénaires, le savoir s'est construit et diffusé par la copie et l'amélioration, c'est-àdire par le libre accès aux idées. Le fait que les savoirs modernes, du moins ceux qui ont quelque rapport avec la logique ou la quantification, puissent plus commodément être exprimés sous la forme de logiciels ne doit en aucun cas conduire à renoncer au principe du libre accès qui est le seul à garantir la capacité buissonnante qu'a l'humanité de créer constamment de nouveaux savoirs. La compatibilité entre ces deux exigences contradictoires est recherchée depuis longtemps, et cette recherche est l'objet de la Directive en cause. Le sens commun, comme la jurisprudence de certains offices de Brevets, tendent à dire que ce qui est brevetable, c'est l'invention, et non pas le logiciel qui peut être nécessaire à son contrôle. Les textes de référence comme la jurisprudence de l'OEB expriment cette différence en parlant de "contribution technique", jusque là tout le monde est absolument d'accord. Pour être brevetable en effet, une invention : * doit être nouvelle ; * doit n'être pas évidente ; * doit être susceptible d'application industrielle ; * doit avoir un caractère technique. Le caractère technique est défini comme la capacité à donner une solution technique à un problème technique, c'est à dire appartenir à un domaine technique et avoir un effet technique. Mais le mot de technique n'est pas défini, si ce n'est par "l'emploi de moyens techniques" ou pire encore par la simple nécessité de "considérations techniques". Cette tautologie a conduit à breveter tout ce qui participait à la réalisation de l'invention, logiciel ou pas. En outre et surtout, l'article 52.2 de la Convention de Munich stipule que les logiciels ne sont pas brevetables "en tant que tels", ce qui a conduit par dérive à l'interprétation manifestement fautive qu'il y aurait une différence entre les logiciels en tant que tels et les logiciels incorporés à une invention ou logiciels comme inventions, brefs logiciels utiles, et par là brevetables. C'est ici que nous avons le devoir d'inno ver, que nous avons innové en première lecture, et que les cinq ou six Etats Membres qui ont fait état au Conseil de leur attente d'amélioration souhaitent que nous trouvions une solution. La rédaction du Parlement en première lecture était peut être un peu sèche et a surpris. Mais de très nombreux entretiens et discussions, notamment avec les représentants des industriels, ont confirmé que la voie de recherche que nous avions explorée était la bonne. Un logiciel, formulation d'une idée, est de l'ordre de l'immatériel. Le travail qu'il provoque à l'intérieur de l'ordinateur lui est interne et n'est pas directement communicable à qui ou quoi que ce soit. Il faut pour que ce travail soit communicable et ait un effet qu'une pièce se mette en mouvement, qu'un signal électrique, radio ou lumineux se produise, qu'une information apparaisse sur un écran, ou que se déclenche n'importe quel effet physique. Ce qui à l'évidence est brevetable ce sont tous les capteurs d'une part et tous les effecteurs de l'autre qui alimentent l'ordinateur en information traitable par le logiciel et qui tirent de l'information finalement produite par le logiciel dans son langage un effet physique constituant la solution technique au problème technique posé. La distinction que nous cherchons sépare donc le monde immatériel du monde matériel ou plutôt du monde physique. Mais chacun de ces deux mots est quelque peu insuffisant pour couvrir tout le champ nécessaire. Matériel renvoie trop à la matière et pas à l'énergie, physique appelle implicitement une qualité palpable. La préférence de votre rapporteur va à la rédaction suivante, qui prendrait place dans l'article de la Directive, celui qui précise les définitions; Domaine technique désigne un domaine industriel d'application nécessitant l'utilisation de forces contrôlables de la nature pour obtenir des résultats prévisibles dans le monde physique. Si l'on admet que même un simple signal, qu'il soit électrique, radio ou lumineux, est composé d'énergie, cette formulation englobe toutes les manières de capter l'information immatérielle produite par l'ordinateur sous la conduite du logiciel pour produire un effet perceptible et utilisable par une machine ou un homme. Je crois cette définition englobante pour tous les besoins réels de l'industrie, sauf bien sur celui qu'ont éprouvé quelques sociétés de contrôler une chaîne de logiciels brevetés dépendant les uns des autres pour interdire l'accès de la concurrence aux activités en aval concernant l'industrie et l'invention en cause, ce qu'à l'évidence nous avons le devoir d'empêcher. Tous les autres problèmes et donc tous les autres amendements sont des conséquences de ce choix initial. Je suggère à mes collègues de n'en traiter qu'après que nous ayons pu nous mettre d'accord, ce qui est l'objet du débat du 21. Afin que la directive puisse permettre le brevetage d'inventions contrôlées par ordinateur tout en empêchant la brevetabilité des logiciels, il sera nécessaire d'intervenir sur les points suivants : * afin de clarifier la portée de la directive, remplacement autant que possible du terme "invention mise en oeuvre par ordinateur" par le terme "invention contrôlée par ordinateur", ou encore "assistée par ordinateur", qui illustre bien mieux que le logiciel ne peut faire partie des caractéristiques techniques des revendications de brevet ; * définit ion claire du "domaine technique", tant positive que négative : d'une part, il devra être spécifié qu'un domaine technique est un domaine industriel d'application nécessitant l'utilisation de forces contrôlables de la nature pour obtenir des résultats prévisibles dans le monde physique , bornant ainsi la technique au monde physique ; d'autre part, il faudra spécifier que le traitement de l'information ne soit pas considéré comme un domaine technique au sens du droit des brevets et à ce que les innovations en matière de traitement de l'information ne constituent pas des inventions au sens du droit des brevets ; définit io n de façon non tautologique de la notion de contribution technique et d'activité inventive, et préciser pour cette dernière que seules les caractérist iques techniques des inventions devront être prises en compte lors de son évaluation ; * descript ion de la forme des revendications de façon tant positive que négative, afin que d'une part les revendications sur les inventions contrôlées par ordinateur ne puissent porter que sur des produits ou des procédés techniques, et d'autre part que les revendications de logiciels, en eux-mêmes ou sur tout support, soient interdites ; * pour assurer l'interopérabilité, renforcement de la confirmation des droits découlant des articles 5 et 6 de la directive 91/250, par le fait que lorsque le recours à une technique brevetée est nécessaire à la seule fin d'assurer l'interopérabilité entre deux systèmes, ce recours ne soit pas considéré comme une contrefaçon de brevet. En fonction du débat du 21 avril, mes amendements seront mis au point et disponibles très vite après.

Re:The original directive(français) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301547)

As a lucky bilingual Canuck, bring on the franglais! :-) (I would suspect that many Canucks will not have much difficulty with this...:-)) If you're really lucky, maybe a Canuck will take pity on those patent challenged, language challenged Americans and translate it for them.

Interesting read, indeed... (5, Informative)

anpe (217106) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301085)

The paper is available here [eu.int] .
It is interesting because it shows that forbidding software patents is non-trivial. In particular, it raises interesting questions:
- What is the boundary between patentable and non-patentable (how do you define it in such a way that it doesn't have side effects on other industries)
- What is the "technical domain" that should be patentable
- If sofware is _part_ of the patented process should it be allowed?

English language version (4, Informative)

JPMH (100614) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301122)

English language version of Rocard's paper is here [eu.int]

+1 Extremely informative (1)

Sanity (1431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301175)

Its a shame this link didn't make it into the original story (it wasn't available when I submitted it yesterday).

Things are not done yet... (1)

Jimpqfly (790794) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301092)

It looks a little bit like "One man to rule them all" for the moment, at least given the news I see... But many people agree with Rocard, in France, even if this kind of information concerning patents is not often given by media. He's part of the politicians we like, here, as well as Delors, Badinter, ...

Good read (1)

realkiwi (23584) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301097)

But will it be enough? This document is full of logic, justice and decent values. That is not what the US IT industry who is pushing for software patents is well known for.

So will Wall Street win in the end?

This is a great document but it is not over yet.

so what means this...? (2, Funny)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301127)

...this is good or is bad? Damn, my knowledge is based in what /. considers right or wrong, if you don't say me what I've to think I don't know what to think!

Its good (1)

Sanity (1431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301137)

Its good, if you don't like software patents, and if you care about innovation, you shouldn't like software patents.

But it is only a small victory in a large battle where the other side has won many victories too.

Re:Its good (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301282)

I hate to say this...do I have to hate software patents?

Bablefish translation. (1, Redundant)

chris_sawtell (10326) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301145)

Working Document
on the patentability of the inventions controlled by computer (2002/0047 (COD))

Rapporteur:
Michel Rocard

The Council of Ministers finally adopted a joint position on the patentability of the inventions implemented by computer to allow that the debate in second reading is held. Five Member States voted while letting know in writing that they voted to resolve the procedure, but which they wished to see the text modified by the Parliament. Our dissension of the first turn was heard.

This text is essential as well economically (a few tens of billion annual euros are concerned) that politically or philosophically: it acts of the statute of the diffusion of the knowledge and the ideas in the company.

It is a short, but bearing text on an extremely complex matter. For two years that it is in debate, it has clearly appeared that in the difficulty of finding solutions consensual, the dissensions on the definitions and the misunderstandings are much more important than the dissensions on the bottom.

I made draw up a note of precise and detailed analysis of the subject. It is long. At the time when I write this letter to you, I am not sure of being able to translate it into English.

I however hope to give it to you to all in French and English. But in fact, for the debate without text from April 21 in Brussels, I prefer, before depositing my proposals for an amendment officially, to propose to you to think together on the problem which is posed to us, and of his intellectual treatment.

Because in this short text, we have in fact only two problems serious, likely to nourish a conflict with the Commission and the Council: that of the delimitation of what is patentable and of what is not it, and interworking. If the Parliament and finally the Council follow the orientations that we propose to them, the problem of interworking will be regulated of this fact.

It is thus necessary to start by being occupied of the delimitation. Which is the question? It results from contradiction between the legal system and the inherited tradition on the one hand, and the needs for remuneration for the investments and safety for the large-scale industry supported by the recent drifts for the patentability in the United States, and to a lesser extent with the European Patent Office, on the other hand. All our legal systems, and especially Convention on the European patent signed in 1973 in Munich establish clearly that the software is not patentable (art 52.2. CBE). However there exists more than 150000 patents of this type in the United States, without legal base and about 50000 with the European Patent Office, at dubious legal base and unequally valid in front of our national laws.

The striking down development of data processing has extended for twenty years with all the branches from our industries and our services. Beyond the professional uses, there is no more one object of everyday consumption which does not comprise integrated softwares: portable cars, telephones, televisions, video tape recorders, washing machines, orders of elevators, etc.

All that is expensive to develop. It is normal, and desirable, that industry can patent the results of its investments to ensure remuneration and to protect them from it from the counterfeit and the unfair competition. The regulation of the physical processes implemented within the inventions is a very old problem: it took innumerable forms, mechanics or tires in particular. To develop of such regulations, patentable when they were themselves innovating in their realization, was extremely expensive.
To replace by software, whose production and development cost is much weaker, an enormous economy represents.
That pushed with their multiplication.
But a software is of another nature.
It is about the immaterial one.

In fact, a software is the combination in an original work of one or more algorithms, i.e. a whole of mathematical formulas.
However like said it Albert Einstein, a mathematical formula is not patentable.
It is of the order of the ideas, as a book, or an oxymoron, or a musical agreement.

Since millenia, the knowledge was built and diffused by the copy and the improvement, it is -àdire by the free access to the ideas.
The fact that the modern knowledge, at least those which have some relationship with logic or the quantification, can more conveniently be expressed in the form of software should not in no case to result in giving up the principle of the free access which is the only one to guarantee the capacity buissonnante that has humanity to constantly create of new knowledge.

Compatibility between these two contradictory requirements is for a long time required, and this research is the object of the Directive in question.
The common direction, like the jurisprudence of certain offices of Patents, tends to saying that what is patentable, it is the invention, and not the software which can be necessary to its control.
The texts of reference as the jurisprudence of the OEB express this difference while speaking about "technical contribution", until there everyone agrees absolutely.

To be patentable indeed, an invention:

* must be new;
* must not be not obvious;
* must be suitable for industrial application;
* must be technical.

The technical character is defined like the capacity to give a technical solution to a technical problem, i.e. to belong to a technical field and to have a technical effect.
But the word of "technique" is not defined, if it is not by "the use of average techniques" or worse still by the simple need for "technical considerations".
This tautology resulted in patenting all that took part in the realization of the invention, software or not.

Moreover and especially, article 52.2 of the Convention of Munich stipulates that the software is not patentable "as such", which led by drift to obviously faulty interpretation that there would be a difference between the software as such and software incorporated in an invention or software like inventions, useful software briefs, and by there patentable.

It is here that we have the duty of inno worm, that we innovated in first reading, and that the five or six Member States which made state with the Council of their waiting of improvement wish that we find a solution.

The drafting of the Parliament in first reading was can be a little dry and has surprised.
But of very many talks and discussions, in particular with the representatives of the industrialists, confirmed that the way of research that we had explored was the maid.

A software, formulation of an idea, is about the immaterial one.
The work that it causes inside the computer him is internal and is not directly communicable with which or anything.
One needs so that this work is communicable and has an effect which a part puts moving, which a signal electric, radio or luminous is, that information appears on a screen, or that any physical effect starts.
What with the obviousness is patentable in fact the the sensors on the one hand and all the effector of the other supply the computer in manageable information by the software and which draw from the information finally produced by the software in its language a physical effect constituting the technical solution with the posed technical problem.
The distinction that we seek thus separates the immaterial world from the material world or rather from the physical world.

But each one of these two words is somewhat insufficient to cover all the field necessary.
Material returns too much to the matter and not with energy, physics calls a palpable quality implicitly.

The preference of your rapporteur goes to the following drafting, which would take seat in the article of the Directive, that which specifies the definitions;

Technical field indicates an industrial field of application requiring the use of controllable forces of nature to obtain foreseeable results in the physical world.

If it is admitted that even a simple signal, that it is electric, radio or luminous, is composed of energy, this formulation includes all the manners of collecting the immaterial information produced by the computer under the control of the software to produce an effect perceptible and usable by a machine or a man.

I believe this definition including for all the real needs for industry, except well on that which tested some companies to control a chain of patented software depending the ones on the others to prohibit the access of competition to the activities downstream concerning industry and the invention in question, which with the obviousness we have the duty to prevent.

All the other problems and thus all the other amendments are consequences of this initial choice.
I suggest with my colleagues treating some only after we could put agreement to us, which is the object of the debate of the 21.

So that the directive can allow the brevetage of inventions controlled by computer while preventing the patentability of the software, it will be necessary to intervene on the following points:

* in order to clarify the range of the directive, replacement as much as possible of the term "invention implemented by computer" by the term "invention controlled by computer", or "computer-assisted", which illustrates well better than the software cannot form part of the design features of the claims of patent;
* defines ion clear of the "technical field", as well positive as negative: on the one hand, it will have to be specified that a technical field is one
industrial field of application requiring the use of controllable forces of nature to obtain foreseeable results in the physical world
, thus limiting the technique in the physical world; in addition, it will have to be specified that the data processing is not regarded as a technical field within the meaning of the substantive patent law and so that the innovations as regards data processing do not constitute inventions within the meaning of the substantive patent law; defines nontautological io N of way of the concept of contribution technical and inventive step, and to specify for the latter that only the caractérist ic techniques of the inventions will have to be taken into account at the time of its evaluation;
* descript ion of the form of the claims in a way as well positive as negative, so that on the one hand the claims on the inventions controlled by computer can relate only to technical products or processes, and on the other hand that the claims of software, in themselves or on any support, are prohibited;
* to ensure interworking, reinforcement of the confirmation of the rights rising from articles 5 and 6 of directive 91/250, by the fact that when the recourse to a patented technique is necessary to the only end to ensure interworking between two systems, this recourse is not regarded as a counterfeit of patent.

According to the debate of April 21, my amendments will be developed and available very quickly afterwards.

A proper English translation is now available :- (1)

Sanity (1431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301213)

here [eu.int] . Its in PDF format, and makes a *really* good read. Rocard outlines the issues with uncommon clarity - if they end up following his recommendations it will restore my battered faith in the European Union.

my own letter (or manifesto) to the EU parliament (5, Informative)

N3wsByt3 (758224) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301154)

[this is my own 'manifesto' to the EU parliament which I have send as a petition and in 'correspondence with EU citizens' as provided by the EU parliamentary site. Though it says they normally respond within reasonable time (to acknowledge they have received it), untill today I didn't hear anything back. also my question about the lack of response came back unanswered. So, I guess I'll have to copy and distribute it personally to 100+ parliamntarians myself, after all...]:

Manifesto on the directive of "computer implemented inventions"

Dear MEP,

As you are probably well aware, soon the EU parliament will have a 'second reading' of the directive for allowing patents on "computer implemented inventions", which, as I will show below, actually amount to allowing software patents (swpat), though this is heavily disputed and denied by the proponents of the directive, including the European Commision (EC).

The way in which this directive has gone through the EU Council of ministers is mindboggling and shows exactly how much the EU has a democratic deficit. Despite the fact there was no real majority for the draft anymore (the change in vote-weight after the enlargement alone accomplished that, apart from a lot of change of minds of some other countries), despite the fact that stringent motions of national parliaments were passed to oblige the national ministers to redraw the proposal as an A-item so that it may be further discussed, despite the fact that the EU parliament and their JURY-commision asked for a new first (re)reading with almost unanimity, the EC chose to ignore and disregard all this, while giving no explanation, apart from "for institutional reasons as to not create a precedent". In other words, the "common position" had to be followed, even though there was no common position anymore, because, aparently, the form is more important then the facts.

This is a stupifying prime example of absurd bureaucratic reasoning and mentality; to give more importance to formality, and to place appearances before the changing facts. Bureaucracy abhors changes, even to the detriment of real democratic values. But then again, maybe this shouldn't surprise us, as the EC is exactly that: bureaucrats, whome were never voted into the position they occupy, yet create laws that could potentially influence millions of EU citizens (to which they do not have to answer to). The EU constitution leaves this democratic deficit as it is, alas. And as seen by the handling of this directive, the deficit is pretty huge.[1]

I will not go further into the procedural mess and the apparent disrespect of the EC for the EU parliament, but rather concentrate on the different aspects of the directive itself (content). I will do this by stating, and then debunking, the rather dubious claims and arguments made by the pro-directive camp, which, alas, also include some misguided MEPs - though I haste myself to say the large majority of the EU parliament is well aware of the facts, as can be readily seen by the amendements made in the first reading.

The following statements for why it is necessarry to have the (current) directive is as follows:

1)It is necessary for the stimulation and development of new software, so that IT-companies can be innovative to the fullest of their potential.

2)It is necessary for the stimulation of EU softwarebusiness, so we can effectively compete on the world-market.

3)It is needed for the harmonisation of the internal market, and to retain the status quo. (Similar as the "we do not change the current practise" or the "it will avoid drifting towards US-style patentability" -argument).

I will now debunk all these arguments (sources mentionned at the end of the document) in a rational and clear way, instead of all the FUD currently being made by many of the softwarepatents (swpat) proponents.

1)It is necessary for the stimulation and development of new software, so that IT-companies can be innovative to the fullest of their potential.

First of all, we have to ask ourselves, what, exactly, a patent is. A lot of pro-swpat advocates use terms as Intellectual Property (IP) rights, while those encompass a lot of different concepts, such as copyright (which is already used for software). We can find the following definition:

A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a government to an inventor or applicant for a limited amount of time (normally 20 years from the filing date)... Per the word's original definition, the theory of patent legislation is to induce the inventor to disclose knowledge for the advancement of society in exchange for a limited period of exclusivity. Since a patent grants the right to exclude others from practicing the invention, it gives the owner a monopoly in the economic sense. There is an ongoing debate about whether the benefits of patents outweight the costs, particularly with respect to software patents.

A patent, thus, is not meant as an inherent right for fincancial compensation for the inventor. A patent is a state-ordained monopoly, that excludes others of exploiting or using similar ideas, even when they have come up with those ideas independently by themselves, for a certain time-period. Now, this seems rather unfair (in copyright this is not the case), but apart from that, why does the state give a monopoly to someone, while we all know monopolies are generally not good for the economy, nor for the consumers? This is why: a patent is a monopoly, given by the state, because it (is supposed to) promote innovation. It follows that, if it doesn't achieve its goal of promoting innovation, it should not be granted, period.

Now, while to some extend this may apply to patents in general (as a study done in the 80ies by the australian government has shown), seen the particular incremental nature of software, and the more intensive studies done on them, it has become ever more clear that softwarepatents DO NOT promote innovation, on the contrary. It logically follows there is no compelling reason in respect to 'stimulating innovation' to grant patents on software.

Some swpat-proponents point to the USA, and claim there the evidence is shown: "the USA has swpat, and look at all those big, mighty IT-corporations!" This, however, is a complete fallacy: they 'forget' to mention that all those big foreign IT-companies were founded and grew to the behemots they are today, in the ABSENCE of softwarepatents (which, in the USA, only started in earnest after 1991). So, it is not "thanks to" softwarepatents, but rather the reverse. Actually, it could be argued that the IT-business in the USA bloomed, exactly because they weren't patents around, back then. And in fact, this is well known by anyone working in the business of IT, and exactly what a well-known USA CEO has said in the early 90ies, someone who can know it.

Bill Gates said it best, in one of his internal memos:

"If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today."

Mind you, this has been said by one of the most prominent IT-CEO on the planet, acknowledging exactly what softwarepatents actually lead too. Ofcourse, his solution to the problem was "patenting as much as we can" so he could go for "patent exchanges with [other] large companies". Of course, Bill had the means to gather together a multi-million dollar software patent portfolio to defend his company (and thus did.) Most of the SME's, let alone the individual developer, don't have such means and allowing swpat can only spell hardship for small businesses and open source software in Europe. Already there are over 30,000 patents that have been granted in the EU, waiting for this bill to pass so that they can be enforced. How comes, when Bill Gates can see it so clearly (even though he probably regrets it has become public), that the EC is unable to see the apparent desastrous consequences of allowing swpat (or a badly written directive that leads to the same)? Luckily, the EU parliament (you) can remediate this.

Contrary to the pro-swpat camp, it is also possible to refer you to several independend studies, which show, time and again, that softwarepatents do not stimulate, but rather inhibit innovation. See appendix A for more info about these studies, some of which clearly show that the money and investment that used to go to R&D, now goes to the legal departments of the companies in the USA, to fend of lawsuits or to sue others.

2)It is necessary for the stimulation of EU softwarebusiness, so we can effectively compete on the world-market.

Alas, this also isn't true. First of all, this isn't true in a broad sense: since innovation isn't stimulated by swpat, one can hardly claim the economy, in the long term, will not suffer also. This is also shown in some of the studies in appendix A, to give a quote:

"Bessen & Hunt show that strategic, anticompetitive and defensive use of patents tends to concentrate in software patents, because they are easier to obtain (they don't require experimentation or prototyping, not even writing a program). They are also broader, because software is not subject to physical constraints and can therefore be composed into more complex systems, potentially infringing on hundreds of patents per program. This causes a patent buildup simlar to a cold war arms race that discourages innovation and competition, and instead of bringing new products to consumers, reduces their choice and their access to infomation society, resulting in significant costs and less productivity for businesses. "

This also hints at the common practise of using softwarepatents: they serve no innovative purpose, but are 'stockpiled' by companies in a defensive manner. These are called portfolios, and big foreign companies like Microsoft and IBM now have tenthousands of swpat in their portfolio, which they use for 'swapping' with eachother if they have to come to an agreement, and blocking new players on the market by smothering them with patent-infringements. Obviously, SME's and individual sw-developers do not possess the money, nor the legal strength to compete with the already established, huge swpat-portfolios. Since more then 80% of the workforce in europe comes from SME's, and not from monolithic companies as in the USA and Japan, it is not difficult to understand what is most beneficial for Europe. This is reflected in the 30.000 patents the EPO already illegally granted (and which this directive would effectively legalise); more of 70% of those patents are of foreign companies, directly, or by proxy. The ones most benefiting from swpat, thus, are huge (mostly foreign) megacorporations, so-called 'leech-corporations' (corporations who produce nothing, design nothing, contribute nothing, but amass swpat without any intent of actually doing something with it exept suing others and profit from continuous litigiousness), and patentlawyers (for the obvious reason). [2]

The big companies using software patents will be constantly trying to increase the size of their software patent empire, so the only way to compete with this is for other giant companies to enter a cold-war style arms race with other companies from which only super-powers will emerge victorious. This is a very anti-competitive envirnoment and very destructive to innovation and small business.

But also in a more strict sense, it makes no sense for europe (specifically) to allow softwarepatents in europe to have a competitive edge on the worldmarket (which is one of the goals of the Lisbon-agenda). This is a fallacy where many, even MEPs who have studied the matter like Maria Allessandra Rossi - though she also made some valuable suggestions - fall for on face value and think it is an advantage for Europe.

However - and I can't stress this enough:

Patents are NOT applied to where the invention is made, but where the patent is filed.

Logic dictates, thus, that EU-corporations *CAN ALREADY* file and 'protect' their IP on the worldmarket: the only thing for that to happen is that they file their patent abroad, in countries where they have been stupid enough to allow them, such as the USA and Japan. But EU companies *are* protected in the EU (if swpat remain unvalid here) against the typical smothering of big foreign companies with huge portfolios.

In every sense, and even only speaking economically without looking at the other reasons not to allow swpat, thus, the EU has a clear economic advantage. WE can sue others, but we can't be sued by others over swpat. For the EU as whole, it becomes apparent that this is very beneficial, maybe to the point where other countries will be forced to abandon their swpat-mentality too, because otherwise they will be in a inherent disadvantage.

Now, it remains puzzling why many people don't seem to get this. A lot of IP-proponents seem to go the way of 'our IP has to be protected' , but - ignoring all other valid considerations not to allow swpat - the irony is, even purely focussing on the economics, the EU is better off NOT having them in the EU, but still being able to apply them abroad.

It seems strange the EU (at least the EC), which in first instance has to look at the best interest of europe and its citizens, would try to pass a law to "level the playing field" (as some US patentlawyers have said) in the worldmarket, so as to allow foreign megacorporations to sue SMEs into oblivion here too and eliminating the economical advantage we currently have on the international market, compared to those countries that DO allow swpat. So because the USA made the mistake to allow swpat, we should make the same mistake, and loose the economic advantage we currently have compared to them?

3)It is needed for the harmonisation of the internal market, and to retain the status quo. (Similar as the "we do not change the current practise" or the "it will avoid drifting towards US-style patentability" -argument).

The need for harmonisation was actually the first and foremost reason offered by the EC for the directive. This is a noble goal, but one has to ask oneself why it is not possible to harmonise equally as well with a law that explicitly forbids softwarepatents and clearly restricts the applicability (as with the amendements you, the EU parliament, did in first reading), then when using an ambiguous directive like the current one. Harmonisation is as well served (if not better) with a clear no, then with an ambiguous "no, but actually yes".

Now, ofcourse, the EC till now has claimed their form of the directive is as clear as it should - even when a child can see that the restrictions they place are purely for the form (as, as I have said, is typical of bureaucrats and the system they work in). The claim that it maintains the 'status quo' of the guideline of 1973 which said "software as such can not be patented" is ludicrous; in the current proposal, it comes down to:

[A] is not patentable, unless [B] is met.

where [B] is (upon close scrutiny) always met

In this case, it is claimed that software can not be patented, unless there is a technical effect...but what is a technical effect? According to the EC, a technical effect is an effect of a technical nature... this is a tautology and does not explain a thing, rather leaves it to be interpreted as one whishes, much as the EPO "creatively" interpreted the "software as such" clause of 1973. The absence of a real physical effect that involves the laws of nature (as proposed in the amendements of the parliament) were and are detrimental, yet the EC choses to ignore that. Instead the EC prefers to play with words as in; swpat are not allowed for "normal physical interaction between a program and the computer" - but this means absolutely nothing and is legally nonsensical. It is a magic formula whose usage can be inferred only from recent decisions of the EPO, in which it served to justify the granting of patents on geometrical calculation rules to IBM. In the present case, according to the EPO, the "further technical effect beyond ..." consisted in the economisation of space on a computer screen. As can be seen by that example, it is trivially easy to portray any program as a 'process' with some sort of "technical effect", if the technical effect can be almost anything. It is akin to saying "music can't be patented, unless it is played on instruments or devices": in every practical sense, you DO make music patentable, then.

There is need (a vital one) for a more restrictive meaning to the EPO wording, for instance based on a recent german court decision which held that economisation of computing ressources does not constitute a "technical contribution", because otherwise practically all computer-implemented business methods would become patentable subject matter. Since the EC refuses to do this, it is clear that the EC wants to make "computer-implemented" algorithms and business methods patentable in accordance with recent EPO practise, even though they refute it as a lipservice. In any case, when passed as it is now, it WILL have that effect, as is easily demonstrated by the fact that all patent-lawyers actually agree it will allow softwarepatents and one is hardpressed to find a swpat that would not be allowed and granted, with the current wording. In fact, when the Polish government had the text examined by their legal departments, these confessed it would, in practise, lead to the allowance of all sorts of software, including business-methods portrayed as processes. Yet, somehow, the EC still seems to think they know it better, and hold on to their misplaced dogmatic viewpoint that it provides adequate limitations, where there are, in reality, none.

Conclusion:

To allow the directive as it stands now to become law, would be desasterous for the innovation of the IT-sector, and for the economy of the EU, which exist largely of SME's. It would seriously undermine the ability of SME's and individual developers to actually produce anything, without the lingering threat and danger of a large foreign company with thousands of patents, ready to sue.

It also makes no sense to allow swpat in europe, with the excuse of making them more competitive on the worldmarket, since patents can already be asked and granted in those countries that have been foolish enough to allow them, while foreign countries can not do the same here: this gives an inherent economical advantage to european corporations, and especially SME's, which don't have the resources and financial possiblities to ward off legal attacks, and - due to the high legal costs - would probably be bankrupt (even when being fully in their right), long before the courts would make a final decision. As a whole, our ability to compete on the world market will not become stronger, but weaker, when softwarepatents are allowed in our internal market, since those profiting the most of such a law are big foreign companies with huge portfolios.

Finally, the current proposal does nothing for harmonisation or preventing a drift towards USA-style patents, as is claimed by the EC. Instead, it exels in ambiguity and doubletalk, while creatively playing with terminology that must insinuate there are clear limitations, when there are, in fact, none.

For all those reasons, I ask you, a MEP and therefor - regardless of political colour or nationality - the direct (and, I may add, in the EU only) representative of its citizens, to amend the proposal of the EC in the same lines as the EU parliament already did in the first reading. [3] That amended proposal was the strict minimum to assure that we have a good directive, therefor, if it ever gets to the 'conciliation procedure' with the EC, and the basic tenents (such as the technical effect) is watered down again, it is better to outright reject the proposal. Better no law then a bad law, after all. And there are more then enough reasons not to allow the standing draft.[4]

I know not all MEPs do their work with the same vigour, but I emplore you, since this is of the outmost importance to get it right, and seen the fact there is a high majority needed in the second reading to amend or reject the EC proposal, to go and vote on the matter, even when it is difficult within your agenda to find time. I assure you, this is worth all the effort and time it needs; even if it were only to show that democracy and not bureaucracy has the final word in the EU legislative process, it would still be worthwhile.

I hope you found this manifest interesting and enlightening, and that it conveyed the importance of amending the draftdirective in line with the earlier amended version of the parliament.

[feel free to comment or correct it, since I'm planning on printing and distributing it to MEPs, seen the online lack of response of the EU institution.]

Re:my own letter (or manifesto) to the EU parliame (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301327)

I have a request: could you please post the footnotes too?

Re:my own letter (or manifesto) to the EU parliame (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301460)

First of all: nice read!

But, you refer to "SME's" a few times but don't say what it is (if an average MEP will know, then it's okay). And there are a few typos and spellos, so you should run it through a spell checker.

Also, you use the term "even when a child can see" -- that may well be, but the tone of word becomes so negative it may put the MEP in an adverse mood. Remember, you have to sweet-talk them *at least* as much as the pro-people do, so you ought to use the most positive language imaginable! ;-)

I wish you the best!!

May not be a distinction with a difference . . . (4, Insightful)

werdna (39029) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301218)

In the United States, before the State Street Bank case articulated the modern "tangible result" test, our jurisprudence excluded "pure" software as well, but it was a distinction without a difference. Under the test in Alapatt and other cases, so long as you articulated the program in technical terms, you had patentable subject matter. Thus, while you might not have been able to claim:

I claim a method for instructing a computer to perform the steps of A, B and C.

You could claim instead:

I claim a computer system including a general purpose computing component (and possibly other apparatus) and a stored program instructing the general purpose computing element to perform the steps of A, B and C.

or

I claim a medium for storing and retreiving information in electronic form, configured to permit retreival of instructions for a computer system (and possibly other apparatus) to perform the steps of of A, B and C.

While such legal niceties are interesting, they --and tests like them-- are mostly a distinction without a difference.

Re:May not be a distinction with a difference . . (4, Informative)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301391)

Under the test in Alapatt and other cases, so long as you articulated the program in technical terms, you had patentable subject matter.
That's the way the European Patent Office works today as well. The reason is that they only require something "technical" to appear somewhere in the claims. Rocard proposes that the novel, inventive stuff should be technical, and additionally insists that the term "technical" be defined (because currently, the EPO considers things like "taking into account how a computer works" and "processing image data" as "technical").

mod !up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301323)

for trol7s' [goat.cx]

EU bureaucracy to the rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301330)

This software patent decision is going back and forth between the different branches of EU government, if they keep this up, at least they will be too busy to implement software patents... or any other stupid things they would otherwise think of.

What to do if the directive will pass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12301378)

I prepared a small legal research [rychlicki.net] . It is based on facts how this legal act was adopted during Irish presidency. It is not finished yet, but may be worth reading for You.
TR
www.rychlicki.net [rychlicki.net]

Update your news slashdot (2, Interesting)

zoobab (201383) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301496)

The comitee of Legal Affairs, which is responsible for this directive in the European Parliament, has discussed the topic this morning:

Please help to make a transcript on IRC (irc.debian.org #ffii) and on the wiki page.

Update your news slashdot (0, Redundant)

zoobab (201383) | more than 9 years ago | (#12301505)

The comitee of Legal Affairs, which is responsible for this directive in the European Parliament, has discussed the topic this morning:

http://wiki.ffii.org/?Juri050421En

Please help to make a transcript on IRC (irc.debian.org #ffii) and on the wiki page.
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