Future on Software Patents: Old Wiki Content

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Here we store previous content of the SwpatFuturEn dossier when it is outdated, by adding it to the top.

Preview before Adoption of Uncommon Position (updated 2005-04-21)

The software patent agreement of 2004-05-18 did no longer enjoy the support of a legitimated majority of governments, but it has been pushed thru the Council nevertheless.

Laurens Jan Brinkhorst was defying his parliament, but finally made a oral declaration in the Council on 7 May 2005 before the adoption of the Common Position.

Next Stages of EU Software Patent Directive (updated 2004-11-13)

See also

Proposed Timetable

Situation Report

The Council has reached a political agreement in May on a version of the directive that is more uncompromisingly pro-software-patent than any version before.

This agreement has not been followed by a formal adoption so far. The long delay is said to be due to translation problems. This may or may not be the case.

The political agreement no longer appears to have a qualified majority behind it:

But it may go through anyway. Although governments are free to withdraw their support from a political agreement, they do not like doing so, because if such withdrawals became regular practice the Council's operations would become less efficient. Moreover, the patent-responsible ministries advising the national government ministers have to date been the staunchest of all the pro-software-patent lobby. These patent experts (usually patent offices) have been overseeing the European Patent Office and a negation of EPO practice by the Parliament means a negation of past decisions of the ministerial bureaucrats that sit on the "Intellectual Property (Patents) Working Party" of the Council, i.e. the very people responsible for the Council's position.

Normally political agreements are simply signed off without discussion by a following Council meeting. However, the text can be knocked off the "A-item" part of such a ministerial agenda if one government refuses to accept it there. If sufficient governments are then prepared to vote for a re-opening of the discussion, the May agreement could still be set aside.

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Once the Council does ratify an Agreement and send it as a "Common Position" to the European Parliament, the Parliament will decide whether it wants to conduct a second reading or another first reading.

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