Europe faces software patents threat again
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The software patents issue will be back, once again, for discussion,
with the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) proposal which calls
for the harmonization of patent laws in EU states. EPLA could to be voted on
11 October 2006 in the European Parliament.
Last year, the Parliament voted against the proposed directive on Computer
Implemented Inventions which would have legitimized software patents in
Europe. The new EPLA proposal would mean an integrated judicial system and
appeals process for patents.
The supporters of the EPLA consider it will help SMEs to better use the
patent system and believe it will not open the door to software patent
Three parliamentary groups, PES (European Socialists), Greens/EFA and
GUE/NGL (European United Left), have filed a motion arguing that the
agreement is a threat to democracy, to judicial independence, puts SMEs
under risk and increases the litigation costs. The proposition faces
opposition from anti-patents campaigners as well as businesses.
Critics also accuse Internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy for not
being able to offer clear answers on the draft agreement regarding costs,
judicial independence or jurisprudence.
Pieter Hintjens, President of Foundation for a Free Information
Infrastructure, also opposing the measure, stated that the European Patent
Litigation Agreement “means higher costs for small businesses, and increased
litigation risks. More U.S.-style litigation is not the solution. We just
need a better patent office.”
Europe’s software patent war ignites again (21.09.2006)
Software patents back to haunt Europe (22.09.2006)
Commission unable to answer MEPs on Patent Litigation Agreement (21.09.2006)