The Next Threat: the Community Patent


I've written extensively about the attempts to pass legislation allowing software to be patented in Europe. The main move was definitely blocked a few years back, and this has forced fans of intellectual monopolies to search for more devious ways of slipping them in. Here's the latest one, the Community Patent:

Comme dans toute organisation polycéphale, l'incohérence est de mise. Par exemple, le Parlement avait voté contre la brevetabilité logicielle en 2005, avec le soutien d'une partie de la Commission (la direction de la Société de l'Information), et contre une autre partie de la Commission (la direction générale du Marché Intérieur dirigée par le commissaire Mac Creevy, très critiqué pour ses positions extrêmement favorables aux grands groupes privés) ainsi que le Conseil (dans lequel règnent les "experts" missionnés par les offices de brevets nationaux). En 2009, rien n'a changé. Le Conseil et une partie de la Commission cherchent à légaliser les brevets logiciels illégalement accordés par l'Office Européen des Brevets (une institution extra-communautaire hors de tout contrôle) au travers de la mise en œuvre du "brevet communautaire" et des règles de brevetabilité qui l'accompagneraient.

Translated here:

Like in any polycephalic organisation, incoherence happens. For example, the Parliament has voted against the software patent directive in 2005, with the support of a part of the Commission (Directorate General Information Society), and against another part of the Commission (Directorate General Internal Market lead by Commissioner Mc Creevy, heavily criticised for his positions extremely favourable to large private groups) and the Council (in which rules the "experts" of National Patent Offices). In 2009, nothing has changed. The Council and a part of the Commission seeks to legalise software patents illegaly granted by the European Patent Office (an extra-community institution outside of any control) trough the implementation of the "Community Patent" and the substantive patent rules that goes with it.

Unfortunately, it looks like the recent Symbian decision in the UK, which muddied the software patent waters yet further, could prove to be the thin end of the wedge. It's hard to know what can be done about these moves to create a Community Patent, since the idea itself is not without merit in terms of reducing European bureaucracy; but rest assured, as soon as it becomes clear, I'll be writing about it.

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