[Fsfe-ie] European Parliament turns around EPLA resolution

Malcolm Tyrrell malcoh0l at yahoo.ie
Thu Oct 12 15:26:18 CEST 2006

(from news at ffii.org): 

PRESS RELEASE -- [ Europe / Economy / ICT ]

European Parliament turns around EPLA resolution

Brussels, 12 October 2006 - In a new resolution on patent policy adopted
with 494 to 109 votes, the European Parliament has stressed ongoing
concerns with the patent granting practice of the European Patent Office
and a lack of democratic control over the patent system. It is
relatively silent about the EPLA, the draft treaty that set the ball
rolling. The FFII welcomes the overall result.

The main proponents of the original pro-EPLA draft resolution,
Klaus-Heiner Lehne MEP (EPP-ED) and Sharon Bowles MEP (ALDE), were
forced to give in and negotiate a compromise between the EPP-ED, PES and
ALDE groups. After several dissenting MEPs in these and other groups
stood up and filed a total of 10 amendments to the compromise text, they
had to give in further and Lehne even filed an amendment to his own
compromise. In the end, their groups supported about half of the tabled

The adopted result is a far cry from the first drafted resolution text,
which almost unequivocally supported the EPLA. This circulated draft
resulted in a counter-resolution by the PES, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL
expressing concerns about the EPLA's weak points such as litigation
costs and the lack of the patent establishment's accountability and
judicial independence.

The ensuing negotiations ended with an almost aimless compromise text
accepted by the EPP-ED, PES and ALDE negotiators, and the PES withdrew
its signature from the EPLA-critical resolution. Finally amendments were
tabled to this compromise resolution by the Greens/EFA, GUE/NGL, PES,
EPP-ED and a group of dissenting EPP-ED/PES/ALDE MEPs lead by Zvěřina
MEP. Several of the key amendments were adopted.

"We're 80% happy with the result" comments Jonas Maebe, FFII board
member. "The main unfortunate artefact left in the adopted resolution is
the fact that it promotes accession of the EU to the European Patent
Convention, which would delegate most patent-related responsibilities to
the civil servants of the Commission and member states. Overall our main
concerns are however addressed and we would like to congratulate the
many MEPs and assistants who very worked very hard for this result."

Erik Josefsson, reporting from the European Parliament in Brussels,
concludes: "Many MEPs are happy we have helped them find a common
ground. We are particularly proud that the EP is keeping an eye on the
EPO. And the message is clear: don't mess up innovation in EU."


* Unofficial consolidated version of the resolution

* Results of resolution roll call votes

* Commission unable to answer MEPs on Patent Litigation Agreement

* EPLA analysis showing EPLA will be more expensive for SMEs

* Permanent link to this press release

Contact Information

Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+32-2-414 84 03 (fixed)
+32-484-56 61 09 (mobile)
bhenrion at ffii.org

Erik Josefsson
FFII representative
ehj at ffii.org

About the FFII -- http://www.ffii.org

The FFII is a not-for-profit association registered in twenty European
countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the
public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards.
More than 850 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have
entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions
concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.

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