Update of Software Patents Agenda

Francois PELLEGRINI pelegrin at labri.u-bordeaux.fr
Thu May 17 15:00:48 UTC 2001

Hello all,

loic at gnu.org wrote:
>  >     First of all, thanks for the excellent agenda on software patents you
>  > proposed. I'm currently working on an article concerning software
>  > patents, and I have a question: What does "The Revision Act shall be
>  > open for signature until the first day of September two thousand and one
>  > at the European Patent Office." mean de facto?

Theoretically, it means that the new convention must be enacted before
this date.

>  > On
>  > petition.eurolinux.org, it is stated that
>  >
>  > <quote src="http://petition.eurolinux.org/pr/pr8.html">
>  > With the exception of Austria, Lichtenstein and Switzerland, all
>  > European countries voted in Munich yesterday against an extension of the
>  > patent system to software. The exception on computer programs will be
>  > maintained in the European Patent Convention after its revision.
>  > </quote>
>  >
>  > - -- so how does this vote against software patents fit in? I know that
>  > the final decision is still due, but I do not understand the
>  > significance of a "Revision Act" being "open for signature". I would be
>  > glad if you could give me some more information about that.

They voted against because they had strong pressures from their
respective governments to wait for the outcome of a European
directive on the subject.
Indeed, if the EPO allowed the patenting of software, they would be
in an illegitimate situation, since national laws have accepted the
fact that software is not patentable.
So they preferred to push forward the patenting of software in the
European patent directive, to which european nations will have to
comply and thus change their national laws to admit the patenting
of software.

>         Honestly I have no clue. The agenda I'm building is a way for
> me to understand what happened and what's going on and ease the path
> for other newcomers. I'm still pretty clueless on many things, such as
> the meaning of this vote.
>         Another thing that is running in the back of my mind is the fact
> that, at the beginning of the year the patent office tried to push for a
> quick resolution regarding software patents. I can't find a trace of this
> anywhere on the web sites. I'm still searching.

They tried to remove art.52.2 last november, see their draft.
In March, they tried to push governments to admit the patenting of
software (March 12th meeting, if I remember well...).


More information about the Discussion mailing list