Poland blocks Software Patents directive

By EDRi · December 30, 2004

The Dutch EU presidency has failed to push through the controversial
Council proposal on software patents. Thanks to the last-minute arrival of
the Polish secretary of state of Science and Information Technology at the
EU Council of Agriculture and Fishery on 20 December, the proposal could
not be adopted without voting. Mr Wlodzimierz Marcinski formally demanded
more time for Poland to deliver a constructive unilateral declaration.

The delay opens new possibilities for the national parliaments, especially
in Poland, Germany and the Netherlands, to re-negotiate the points of view
of their Ministers of Economical Affairs. Many ministers currently play a
word-game with their members of parliament, saying they agree the
directive should not allow for patents on pure software and business
methods. But advocates of the current proposal claim it already contains
enough guarantees to rule out trivial patents on for example the process
of double-clicking on a website. In the eyes of opponents though,
including a large majority of the European Parliament, the proposed
directive is dangerously vague, and can cause great harm to independent
software development.

So far the European ministers have ignored all the amendments of the
European Parliament in the first reading, and seem to be heading towards
a frontal collision with the Parliament in the second reading. In such a
second reading, Parliament has much less powers to amend and improve on
the proposal.

Latest version of the Council proposal on the patentability of
computer-implemented inventions (18.11.2004)

Petition to thank Poland (already 25.000 signatures)