Poland blocks software patents once more

By EDRi · January 26, 2005

Poland did it again. For the second time they blocked the attempt to
silently adopt EU Council’s agreement on software patents, this time in
the Fisheries Council of 24 January 2005. The government of Poland had
already requested the item to be deleted from the agenda of the
Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 21 December 2004.

On the Friday preceding the Fishery minister’s meeting the Polish European
Committee of the Council of Ministers, presumedly acting on the initiative
of the country’s Ministry for Science and Technology, requested not to
include the Directive on the Patentability of computer-implemented
inventions on the agenda of that Council meeting, because “the work on the
final position of Poland on the issue has not yet been completed”. A
statement published on the Polish Office of the Committee for European
Integration, as translated by the Foundation for a Free Information
Infrastructure, goes on to announce that “if the Luxembourg Presidency
includes the draft of the aforementioned Directive in the agenda, Poland
will request its withdrawal and postponement until the end of the
necessary analyses being conducted by Poland”. These analyses concern the
possibly disastrous impact of the patentability of software on Poland’s
emerging computer industries.

The Council’s difficulties in finding an agreement on the Patents
Directive give new impetus to an initiative by 61 MEPs to re-start the
European Parliament’s legislative process on the Directive. The
initiative, based on Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament,
also has the support of most of the MEPS who have been fighting software
patents for the last three years. They argue that the Council has not
sufficiently taken the Parliament’s position into account, which amounts
in essence to a new draft. The election of a new Parliament in the
meantime would alone be sufficient to justify a new first reading, if the
Parliament’s Conference of Presidents considers it desirable. A new first
reading would give the Parliament more rights. They can table amendments
covering a wider area of topics. The four-month time limitation in second
reading would not apply and votes of Parliament members who are not
present would not be counted as being pro-Council, as is the case in
second reading. Last but not least, MEPs from the new Member States would
get a chance to cast their vote without the limitations implied by the
rules on second reading.

FFII: Patents taken off Fishery Agenda at Poland’s Request Once More

Out-law.com: Poland stalls Patent Directive again

FFII: Lobbying Guide for a re-newed referral to the European Parliament

(Contribution by Andreas Dietl, EDRI EU Affairs Director)