EU Software Patents

Olivier Berger oberger at
Sun Nov 26 18:32:07 UTC 2000

Armin Herbert a écrit :
> Hi Oliver,
> On 26-Nov-00 Olivier Berger wrote:
> > The EPC counts 20 members, some of them are members of the European
> > Union, others not.
> We agree about that.
> >> A decision of the EU (meaning, the European Comission (20 members) is
> >> expected on Dec, 15. The European Comission wants to see some "expert"
> >> report (meaning, statements from the business) first.
> >
> > As far as I know, the EU counts only 15 members at the present time.
> Yes, but as you can see in [1] the European Comission counts 20 members,
> AFAIK representatives of the 15 member countries. Sh*t. Any lawyer here?
> I'm confused ;-)

Ah... you may be right... I was indeed talking about the member states,
not the Comisioners (? "Comissaire" in french)

> >> As a summary we can say that Europe will be free of software patents,
> >> that's right :-)
> >
> > Not at all.
> >
> > If the EU soon decides to have them in the EU, the EPO (European Patent
> > Office) will soon decide ta have them too... so the fight is not over
> > even if we allready won a battle.
> What do you mean by that?

That the EPC was not changed by the EPO because they want to wait until
the European Comision make a decision (after the current consultation).

So if the comission decides to make a directive that would allow the
software Patents, it will a be a clear sign for the EPO to change the
EPC. And tha would be a definite defeat for us.

We have to keep raising concerns at the EU institutions : parliament,
comission, and of course at the national level too, in order to comfort
the curren situation : no software patents. Of coure, the best way to do
this is to answer the current consultation, especially with

> If 17 out of 20 members of the ECC decided not to allow software patents,
> what could happen if their countries join the EU (and what about
> Switzerland e.g., who decided _not_ to join?) ? And .. well, that's
> speculative, but in my opinion Poland (which probably will be the first
> country joining the EU) won't care about software patents, because their
> main goal is to import from, not to export to the EU member states?

And indeed, if we make the EU a bit larger, including countries not
concerned very much by the software economy issues, the situation will
be worse. The FSF Europe will be a strong counter-power, and I think
that we have to be prepared to fight everywhere in europe, especially on
the law aspects of freedoms associated to software use and programming.

If you know lawyers that would be able to join us, it could be great ! 

> Oliver, can you please tell us more about this and illuminate the dust a
> bit? I couldn't learn much from the press releases you quoted.

I hope you'll have a clearer view on the patents issue, and for more
information, I advise you to brows, or

> [1]

Olivier BERGER - Secrétaire de l'association APRIL 
APRIL ( - Vive python (
Pétition contre les brevets logiciels :

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