Eptrans050308En

[ Main: Charlie McCreevy: The ball is now very clearly in the Parliament's court ]

Incomplete Transscript of the McCreevy statement on 8 March 2005

Today evening the official transcript and minutes will be available:

Transcriber's comment: Rough transcription, did not understand all sentences: http://apunkt.ffii.org/~feklee/live_dump.ogg

President of the European Parliament

20:35 In the Chair: "This time on the agenda is the Commission statement on internal market services and patentability of computer software and I give the floor to commissioner McGreevy."

Charlie McCreevy, Commissioner

See also McCreevy Speech as published by the Commission

McCreevy talked about the services directive.....

28:55 Commissioner, what we had planned was that you speak on the other two topics. I do have people down on the speakers list who want to ask about the services directive but also about patentability. So if you don't mind, Mr. Commissioner, could you make the rest of your statement now.

29:20 Thank you President. Now on the other directive. The Commission is grateful to this opportunity to make a statement on the proposal on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions.

29:30 I already had the opportunity to debate the proposal with the committee on legal affairs on the 2nd of February and discuss it with the conference of Presidents on the 3rd of March. I very carefully note on both occasions of the views of the European Parliament. I noted that the Parliament considers, in general, that its views were not given sufficient weight in the first reading. Of the debate in the legal affairs committee, I noted, that there are differing views on the substance of the proposal. In particular on its content and purpose.

30:07 The Commission gave the European Parliament suppressed 24th of February, which is submitted under article 55 of the Parliament's internal rules of procedure, careful consideration. But the Commission concluded that at that stage, regrettably, it could not submit a new proposal as the Parliament requested, not because the Commission wished to persist stubbornly with the proposal. But because the Council was on the point of adopting a Common Position.

30:37 - As I've explained at the conference of Presidents, the Council reached the political agreement in May 2004 in first reading. The Council has been on the verge of confirming the political agreement in the form of a Common Position since December 2004. The Commission had supported the political agreement of May 2004. The Commission could therefore not go back on its word when the Council was in the process of confirming its Common Position.

31:10 - The Council has now made up his mind and adopted its Common Position. It did so yesterday at the Competitiveness Council. Jeannot Krecké, chair of the Competitiveness Council, already explained to the legal affairs committee, the reason behind the Council's stance. It confirms its Common Position primarily for institutional reasons. The Council wanted to avoid a precedent whereby member states would be seen to be backing away from a deal that they had signed up to in May 2004. The Council confirmed its position to show that a deal is a deal and that it was not creating a logjam on this dossier, in an area which is key for innovation.

31:55 Jeannot Krecké noted yesterday, as the Council took this decision, that some member states had concerns on the substance of the text and that these would be addressed in the second reading.

32:13 The ball is now very clearly in the European Parliament's court. It's for you to decide how you want to play it. I don't have to remind you of the Parliament's rights. We've discussed this in the conference of Presidents. You can of course reject or substantially amend the proposal. If the Parliament decides to reject it, then the Commission will respect your wishes. I will not propose a new directive.

32:45 But should you decide to propose amendments, the Commission will give them due consideration. No doubt, there are improvements that can be made. You will understand of course that I cannot speak on behalf of the Council. I have endorsed the Parliament to engage constructively with the Council in the future on this dossier. I'm ready to help in any way.

33:10 Before concluding, I would like to say a few words on the substance of the proposal since the European Parliament will now need to turn its attention to this. The Commission proposed to clarify the legal rules on patentability for software related inventions. This does not include computer programs or other software as such. It needs inventions to take a technical contribution of which are truly novel.

33:40 Such inventions are present in a number of everyday consumer goods, such as cars, mobile telephones and domestic appliances. The Commission's intention in making its proposal was to avoid patenting of pure software and clearly differentiate the European Union from the United States.

34:00 Nothing that is not patentable now, will be made patentable by the directive. The current rules in the European Patent Convention lead to very wide decision making power in the hands of patent examiners. There can be different interpretations as to whether an invention can be patented.

34:20 This leads to uncertainty for businesses and small and medium size enterprises, which in particular are negatively affected by the lack of clarity in the existing rules. I would like to remind members, that in the absence of a directive, patents will continue to be granted. If patent officers decide to grant patents for pure software, then expensive procedures before the court, will be the only option for those who wish to object.

34:50 Those of you who are being directly involved in working on this proposal, know as well as I do, that this is a very complex area. Any modifications will need to be carefully examined. The directive cannot be turned on its head.

35:05 We need to adhere a proper balance between stimulating innovation and making sure competition is not stifled. President, I hope that my intervention has not been too long. The situation is in fact now clear. The ball is in your court. I'm sure you will exercise your rights and your judgement wisely. Whatever you decide I would like to reassure you that the Commission is listening.

35:27 I know a new wind is blowing on this. This is reflected in the position expressed in the Council and the Parliament and the Commission will take a count of this and respect it.


0:34

26-16 Rocard

Monsieur le Commissaire une minute ne me laisse pas le temps d'aborder le mailaise qui saisit le monde des internautes sur la procedure d'adoption de la directice sur la brevetabilite des logiciels.

La presidence Luxembourgeoise n'avait pas le droit de refuser le passage d'un point A a un point B et l'adoption en point A mais avec un debat, une voix contre et trois abstentions, est a peu pres sans precedent. Cette image est desastreuse, nous avons des internautes qui nous disent qu'ils en profiteront pour voter contre la constitution. Mais c'est stupide et dangereux.

Mais surtout vient le fonds, je vous ai ecoute, et une fois de plus, nous sommes d'accord avec le vocabulaire et le texte ecrit, qu'il ne faut pas n'importe quoi, limitons, nous ne trouvons toujours pas dans le projet de directive, la delimitation claire entre ce qui est brevetable et ce qui ne l'est pas. Question a la commission: considerez-vous qu'une delimitation claire entre le brevetable et ce qui ne l'est pas est indispensable a ce texte ou non et si oui, considerez-vous que la seule possible, car on n'en connait pas d'autre, soit celle de l'usage ou du non usage d'energie ou de matiere, la reference a la technique etant tautologique, et permettant n'importe quoi. Merci.

Translation:

Mr commissioner, a single minute is not enough to tell how bad the internet community feel about the adoption procedure for the software patent directive.

The council presidency had no right to refuse the move from a A item to a B item, and the adoption of a A item with a debate where one country voted no and three asbtained is a first timer. This gives a bad image, and many internet users tell us that this pushes them to vote against the constitution. This is stupid and dangerous.

On the background of the problem, I listened your speech and one more time, we agree that it shouldn't be allowed to patent anything. But we still don't find in the directive draft any limitation between what is patentable and what is not.

A question for the commission: do you consider that a cleat limitation between what is patentable and what is not is a requiremeent for this directive or not? If you do, do you consider that the only limitation we know and we can use is the matter or energy usage? The reference to technics being a tautology leading to random interpretation. Thank you.


0:37:26 Sophie in 't Veld

(the 35:05 above is 14:50 in this audio file)

Dank voorzitter. Allereerst wou ik een opmerking maken over het proces. Ehh, ik moet zeggen dat het me buitengewoon stoort om te vernemen dat er achter de rug van het Europees Parlement om wordt onderhandeld met bepaalde lidstaten, of dat in het geval van de software het standpunt van het parlement simpelweg genegeerd wordt. Eh, dan ten tweede over de inhoud, er is veel gepraat over de strategie van Lissabon, de noodzaak van innovatie en het stimuleren van de Europese dienstenmarkt (....), wat betreft de software, de kwaliteit van de wetgeving mag niet onderschikt gemaakt worden aan een machtstrijd tussen de instellingen, we hebben innovatie nodig en die mag niet verstikt worden door verkeerde wetgeving. Kortom, meneer de Creevy, meer dan alleen maar lippendienst betuigen aan de strategie van Lissabon, en ten tweede het democratisch proces en de gekozen volksvertegenwoordiging van Europa respecteren. Dank u wel.

Translation:

Thanks President. Firstly, I wanted to make a comment about the process. I have to say that I'm extraordinarily disturbed to learn that behind the back of the European Parliament negotiations are going on with certain member states, or in the case of software the standpoint of the Parliament is simply ignored. Secondly, about the content, there is much talk about the Lisbon strategy, the necessity of innovation and stimulation of the European services market (....) Concerning the software, the quality of the legislation must not be made subordinate to a power struggle between the institutions; we need innovation and that must not be choked by wrong legislation. In short, mister Creevy, one should do more than just show lip service to the Lisbon strategy, and secondly, one should respect the democratic process and the chosen representation of Europe. Thank you.

Note: In both cases, the live translator mistakenly translated the word "wetgeving" to "competition" instead of "legislation".


40.17 Lichtenberger

Herzlichen Dank Herr Kommissar, ich habe einige Fragen betreffend die Softwarepatentierungsrichtlinie im bezug auf die Position, die gestern im Rat beschlossen worden ist. Was umfasst diese Position denn nun eigentlich? Ist es der trockene Text vom 18. Mai? Dann hat dieser Text auch im Rat keine Mehrheit, denn schliesslich haben acht Staaten Stellungnahmen mit kritischen Anmerkungen zu zentralen Punkten der Richtlinie [im] angekündigt oder abgegeben. es gibt vier nationale Parlamente, die sich gegen die Inhalte dieser Richtlinie ausgeprochen haben und ehm wie werden sie denn diese Einwendungen, die diese Staaten erhoben haben , jetzt berücksichtigen? Das kann natürlich im Parlament jetzt gemacht werden aber der Rat hat doch auch die Verantwortung eine Mehrheit zu haben. Der Text, der jetzt vom 18. Mai übrig ist hat keine Mehrheit in der derzeitigen Form. Die Einwendungen der Staaten sind bis jetzt unberücksichtigt geblieben. Ich will keinen Machtkampf zwischen Parlament, Rat und Kommission, sondern ich will eine sachliche Bahandlung der Einwendungen in dieser Richtlinie. Das erwart ich mir von Ihnen.


41.45 Italian MR. Stan Parlioletto(?)

Grazie. Mi habro e la commisario dopo questo di partito non tra a la conclusione di a discutate tutta cupa relevante sul la stessa strana cum sembra dicerati cultivati inveti in questi mesi

e particulare si parliamo di software

opurre la comunque

Io credo che le directiva manque di quattro

utuliziato

in questo sectore


44:28 Othmar Karas, Austrian PPE

Herr Kommissar, ich wundere mich über das mangelnde Selsbntbewusstsein und die mangelnde Selbstachtung vieler Kolleginnen und Kollegen in diesem Saal. aus einem einfachen Grund. Wer ist denn zwischen uns beiden Gesetzgeber, die Kommission oder wir selbst. Wir stehen in der Dienstleistungsrichtlinie in der ersten LEsung und wir stehen in der Softwarepatentrichlinie leider wegen eines problematischen ... vorgangsweise des Rates bei der zweiten Lesung und das

Wir sind Gesetzgeber, beide Richtlinien müssen gehindert werden. und der gemeinsame Standpunkt zur Softwarepatentrichtlinie ist inakzeptabel. Und wir werden beide Richtlinie im Sinne der Bürgerinnen udn Bürger unter... in der Europäischen Union ändern. Wir wollen beide richtlinien.

Meine Damen und Herren, ich begrüße daher die Erklärung der Kommission, da sie eine Klarstellung beinhaltet.

Ich sage aber auch daher. Kehren wir zurück zur sachlichen parlamentarischen Arbeit, beenden wir .. und Fehlinformation

... nächste Woche nicht zu demonstrieren, sondern uns im Legialativprozess zu stützen, das Gleich erwarten wir vond er Kommission.

(Claps)

45.56

47.315 Madame Sangrez

Monsieur Commissaire, je regrette ... il nouvel presente ... je regrette ... il nostre parlaiment ... le princip d'origine .. c'est voudrai il fait .. seulement une marché.. d'hommes et des femmes

48.5 unknown

Chaiman, I object for the lack of balance

49.38 McCreevy

Well, ehh, due to the wide-ranging ehh issues raised I couldn't possibly have time to deal with all the points. But on the software patents - and I clearly indicated on the software patents - that the ball is in the court of the European Parliament.

If the parliament wishes to reject it, then the Commission will respect that decision.

And I've heard what you're saying at that matter. I've said it at the Council's presence - I've said at the Committee meeting I went to, I repeated it at the Council's presence last week and I repeat - I repeat it here today in my speech. It is up to the European Parliament now to do its job at this particular matter and we will take in board your concerns. There were some questions asked about the matter of the Council of Ministers yesterday; the Council of Ministers issued a statement and the matter was dead at a later point and it's a matter for the Council of Ministers.

On the services directive ... + angry moral Appeal speech in defense of the Service directive.

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