20 April 2005 -- The European Parliament's rapporteur Michel Rocard has published his views on the software patent directive and outlined the direction which his amendments will take.
Hartmut Pilch comments:
- "Rocard's outline 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. Already in the title of his paper, Rocard proposes to replace the misleading term "computer-implemented inventions" by "computer-controlled inventions", and the report itself goes to the heart of the matter. Rocard explains the difference between applied natural science and data processing, and, from there solves the legislative problem in a consistent and adequate manner, delivering what programmers, economists and the vast majority of companies in software and related industries want to see. It is unusual for an economist and former French prime minister to take up a fairly special, difficult-to-communicate problem with such seriousness and moral courage. Perhaps Rocard is showing here the same qualities that won him fame as the peacemaker of New Caledonia. In any case, the contrast with the evasiveness of the Council's patent bureaucrats could not be greater. If the MEPs can vote for Michel Rocard's amendments in June and July, the Parliament will then, in the ensuing Conciliation procedure, be able to negotiate with the Council from a position of strength."
The full report with amendments is expected soon after the debate of 21st April. The Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) will vote on the report on 20th of June. Around 6th of July the Parliament as a whole (plenary assembly) will vote on the results of JURI voting.
FFII has today distributed to JURI members paper copies of its own proposal for amendments which is very similar in spirit to that of Rocard. FFII is moreover planning a conference in and near the EP on June 1st and has issued a third Call for Action, which asks the European Parliament to support the kind approach which Michel Rocard is proposing, while at the same time asking national parliaments to bring the European Patent Office and the Council of Ministers under control.
Translating the Document
how to submit translations -- please contact traduk-help at ffii org if you want to translate to your language
A recent study mandated by the German government once more confirms the animosity against software patents in the industry