Various groups of the European Parliament have submitted amendment proposals to the Legal Affairs Committee which, if adopted, would reinstate the Parliament's decision of September 2003, thereby clearing up the dogmatic mess created by the European Patent Office and encouraging judges to exclude software solutions from patentability.
News & Chronology
- 2005-05-04 Amendment submission deadline expires
Deadline for submission of amendments was 2005-05-03 18h. Currently FFII is aware of the following sets of amendments:
Michel Rocard, PSE, FR, Parliament's rapporteur on the directive, resubmitted most of the core amendments from the 1st reading
Piia-Noora Kauppi, EPP, FI, shadow rapporteur for the European People's Party, resubmitted a large part of the core amendments from the 1st reading and, in addition, some amendments with partically conflicting tendencies, reflecting the fact that Kauppi needs to take account conflicting pressures from within EPP
Greens resubmitted core amendments of 1st reading which resemble Rocard's
NGL/GUE (left parties) submitted FFII amendments
- Two Polish !MEPs of the EPP group submitted amendments from FFII and similar ones of Polish origin
Manuel Medina Ortega of Spanish Socialist Party has tabled mainly 1st reading amendments similar to those of Rocard, and some FFII amendments. This was not entirely expected, given Medina's fairly unclear or even pro-patent stances of the past.
Toine Manders and Malcolm Harbour have tabled some hardcore pro-software-patent amendments, but in general FFII's expectation that new fake limits on patentability would appear was not fulfilled. It seems that, as far as feigning limitations, the Council's position already has reached an unsurpassable optimum.
FFII's amendment analysis service
FFII president Hartmut Pilch explains the upcoming procedure:
"The FFII is working with a group of patent examiners and legal experts to provide analysis and further proposals throughout the weeks of deliberation in the Legal Affairs Committee, which will vote on the amendments in June, and in the Plenary, which will vote on these and possibly further new amendments in early July.
Only amendments that win the support of a majority of component members of the Parliament, i.e. at least 367 !MEPs, will be adopted. Every absent MEP will be counted as pro-Council."
Post Second Reading
Hartmut Pilch explains further:
"The Parliament's position will not become law, but rather will be the basis for a further reading of the Council and, most likely, for negotiations between the Council and the Parliament in a Conciliation procedure, which may well end without a result, leading to the failure of the directive project, if the Council continues to be dominated by the ministerial bureacracy of the national patent offices. On the other hand, if the Parliament fails to amend the Council's current proposal under the harsh majority requirements, the Council's proposal will become law, and the hunting season for enforcement of more than 30000 broad and trivial software patents granted by the European Patent Office will begin in Europe."