EP committee wants new software patents proposal

By EDRi · February 9, 2005

On 2 February 2005 the legal affairs committee of the European Parliament (JURI) voted with an overwhelming majority (19-2) to get rid of the current software patent proposal and start all over again with a new proposal. Only 1 MEP voted against the initiative, and 1 MEP was absent.

The former French prime minister Michel Rocard gave an impressive speech in the JURI committee. With all respect for the new Commissioner for the internal market, Charlie McCreevy, he said he and other MEPs felt “mustard was coming through their noses”. A first ‘inelegance’ Rocard noted was the fact that all the EP amendments in the first reading of the proposal had been ignored by Commission and Council. Secondly, the ministers of Germany and The Netherlands had ignored their own parliaments. Thirdly Rocard opposed the repeated attempts to adopt the proposal in the wrong forum of ministers, twice even at a Fishery Council. Rocard concluded his speech by explaining once more why the word ‘technical’ in the Council proposal couldn’t help anybody distinguish between what is patentable and what is not.

According to IDG news service, the day after the JURI vote the Luxembourg deputy foreign minister Nicolas Schmit said as chair of the EU he would ask the Council of External Relations to formally adopt the draft directive on 17 February 2004 anyway. It is unclear if this fourth attempt will succeed. The president of the European Parliament will consult the leaders of the political groups on the outcome of the JURI vote and can decide to formally ask the Commission to respect the will of the parliament and start all over again.

European Parliament JURI Committee votes for restart with massive majority (02.02.2005)

Speech Michel Rocard (unofficial English translation, 02.02.2005)

E.U. ministers, Parliament clash on patent legislation (03.02.2005)