EU software patents directive delayed

By EDRi · October 20, 2004

According to a report in the EU eGovernment News, the formal approval of the draft Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions by the EU Competitiveness Council has been postponed due to translation delays.

“The political agreement between Member States over the draft Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions was expected to be approved during the EU’s Competitiveness Council meeting held on 24/09/2004, before being sent back to the European Parliament for a second reading. However, the item was removed from the Council’s agenda due to delays in translation.”

The Council text was agreed upon by the Member States on 18 May 2004. In many national parliaments a heated debate followed, asking the respective ministers to explain their approval of patents on software. The Dutch minister of Economical Affairs was even forced by the Dutch Parliament to withdraw his approval. In that light, the ‘translation delays’ give the Ministers welcome time to negotiate their strong political differences.

The European Parliament probably won’t be able to start the second reading before the end of 2004. Opponents of software patentability look forward to this second reading, since the former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard was appointed to draw up the response. During the first reading, Rocard showed great care about the social and economical consequences of patenting computer algorithms.

A new campaign against software patents in the EU was launched today in 12 languages at The campaign is managed by Florian Müller of SWM Software-Marketing GmbH and is supported by three corporate partners: 1&1, Red Hat, and MySQL AB. “Software patents are used for anti-competitive purposes, stifle innovation, and would cost the entire economy and society dearly”, Florian Müller says in the press release about the initiative.

Nosoftwarepatents website

EU software patents directive delayed (11.10.2004)

Interview with Michel Rocard (Liberation, 20.06.2003, paid access)

English translation of the interview (for free)