Euro PAP: Commission Ignores Restart Motion, Poland to Support the Draft in Council and to Seek Changes in 2nd Reading
The Euro PAP web service of the Polish Press Agency (PAP) writes that the draft directive "on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions" (software patent directive) is likely to be adopted on the 17 February meeting of the Council of Ministers of Finance, because Poland will no longer block the vote. The bill will then proceed to its 2nd reading where Poland is expected to seek changes to the directive.
On February 2nd, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (JURI) decided with a large majority to ask the Commission for a renewed referral of the Software Patent Directive. However, the Commission is not obliged to comply to the Parliament's request and the Presidency may still schedule the vote on the Directive on one of the next Council meetings.
- On February 4th, 2005, Euro PAP (euro.pap.com.pl) announced in the article entitled "Patent Directive Likely Not to Return to 1st Reading but Revision Still Possible" that, according to the EU Presidency, the vote on the Draft of the Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions will be scheduled on the 17 February 2005 meeting of the Council of Ministers of Finance. Euro PAP also wrote, basing on unnamed sources in the European Commission, that before the Council meets, the Commission will not reply to the European Parliament's request to restart the procedure, because it is waiting for the reaction of the member states when the Council will be adopting the Directive. According to Polish diplomatic sources, this time Poland will support the Draft. However, the Directive may still be revised during the 2nd reading in the European Parliament.
Poland has been facing increasing diplomatic pressure to say yes to a directive which it does not support. Polish Coreper diplomats have in the past already many times announced that Poland would not block the procedure any longer. On the day of the JURI meeting, Commissioner Charlie McCreevy announced in his speech that he had received "written assurances concerning the re-instatement of the issue on the forthcoming EU Council meeting". The article by Euro PAP further strengthens these rumors.
The two previous delays in the adoption of the Draft made it possible for the JURI to make the request to the Commission to restart the procedure. The official reason given by Poland for delaying the vote in both of these cases was that Poland was working on a statement that would present Poland's reservations to the current content of the Directive.
Although not mentioned in the Euro PAP article, according to some sources, however, the Polish government has given instructions to its diplomats that they should support any other country's initiatives for delay or revision (B-item) of the agreement which, as everybody knows, Poland does not and did not support. So far it is not clear whether any other government will come to help.
If the Directive is adopted on the EU Council, the Commission may avoid answering the Parliament's request for renewed referral and hope/pressure for a failure of the restart motion. In such a case the draft will proceed to its 2nd hearing.