[Fsfe-ie] directive passed, summary

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Wed Sep 24 15:07:43 CEST 2003

Hi all,
  the directive was adopted (361 for, 135 against, 28 abstentions).

I'm not sure if this is good or bad, it's all down to the
amendments.  A summary was posted to slashdot in French,
someone did a quick translation:

 The European Parliament approves the patentability of the software
STRASBOURG (Reuters) - the European Parliament approved Wednesday the
draft Directive very disputed on the patentability of the software
inventions, after having amended it to limit its field of application
to the "true inventions" having a technical range. The text, presented
in first reading, was approved by 364 votes, against 153 and 33
abstentions. It specifies the European Commission proposal, which
establishes a distinction between the pure, famous software
nonpatentable in European right, and the "inventions implemented by
computer", which would become it, with the proviso of presenting a
technical projection, likely to receive an industrial application. The
text of origin was considered to be "fuzzy" and "ambiguous" by
considerable members of Parliament who feared that it too largely does
not open the way with the taking out of patents on the software, with
the risk to constitute a brake with l"innovation in this key field of
the economy. Eurodeputes added a paragraph specifying that a
"invention implemented by computer (a software) is not regarded as
contributing a technical share only because it implies the use of a
computer". In light, so that a data-processing program is patentable,
it is not enough that it is new, it is necessary still that it allows
a technical innovation independently of its own execution. Another
amendment specifies that the use of a patented technique is not
regarded as a counterfeit if it is necessary to ensure the
communication between various systems or data-processing networks. It
acts for eurodeputes to prevent the monopoly which certain giants of
the software could exert on the data-processing networks, Microsoft
being named but probably not aimed. The European Parliament being a
colegislator in this field which concerns the domestic market, the
text must now be examined by the Council of Ministers, before
returning in second reading to Strasbourg. The European police chief
charged with the domestic market, Fritz Bolkestein, had warned
eurodeputes, Tuesday at the time of the debate, on the "unacceptable"
character of a certain number of amendments deposited.

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