EU patent law not to proceed after all?

This is clearly something that all EU members should be concerned about (and should bring up with their local MEP's in up-coming elections). With Germany, a major EU player, withdrawing support for a decidedly bad piece of legislation. Read on - great story from Arstechnica.com.

While the US is embroiled in a mess of software patent litigation, Europe has largely avoided the problem because of different patent law. It is now beginning to look as though Europe might be able to steer clear of it altogether, as Germany has decided to vote against any changes to current software patent laws. Germany's decision flies in the face of the European Commission (the same body which levied the 500 million fine against Microsoft), which wants to rewrite European patent law to allow for patents of software features for the first time in Europe. In a statement given to demonstrators in Germany, Federal Department of Justice Minsterial Director Elmar Hucko read the riot act to the EC:

"Under no circumstances do we want American procedures in Europe, Hucko vowed with regard to the US patent process. A patent must be "a fair reward for a bona fide invention and not abused as a strategy to bludgeon competitors."

Those who have been watching the EC lately know, however, that their patent aspirations go beyond what is currently practiced in the US, making Hucko's statement somewhat inflammatory.

In September 2003, the European Parliament decided against altering EU patent law, despite the EC's pushing for the patentability of software. Not long afterward, the EC decided to try an end run around the European Parliament and get national patent administrators to sign on, which would have the same effect. With the largest member of the EU now on record as opposing the EC's software patent directive, and French IT industry leaders stridently lobbying thier government to vote against the patent changes, it looks as though the EC may be stymied for the time being.

View: Article @ Ars

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