FT: MEPs warned on implications of EU software moves

Not a good article for the anti-swpat movement in the Financial Times today :-/It briefly conveys our concerns, but is dominated by advocates of software patents, who repeat their claim that the Council text, which removed the European Parliament’s safeguards to allow software patents, will not permit patents on pure software, but is necessary to allow patents on software which make a “technical contribution”. They use helping a mobile phone save battery power or improving the picture of a television screen as examples of this, but fail to point out that this term remains undefined and could mean almost anything, including what most would think of as pure software.It claims that the European Parliament version of the Directive, which blocked software patents, will “remove” patent protection from the 30,000 software patents currently in existence, but fails to point out that they don’t have patent protection right now anyway, the EP merely preserves the status quo.It takes for granted that the voices in favour of software patents are representative of the European tech industry, even though the EICTA is dominated by large US corporations, it shouldn’t be surprising that they would welcome a law that would allow them to stifle their smaller EU competitors (I don’t have a EU-wide statistic, but I believe that in Germany )It also repeats the easily refuted myth that the EP version will make the EU a “copycat paradise” (we haven’t allowed software patents in the past and I would hardly describe the EU as a copycat paradise, I don’t see why this would change if software patents aren’t introduced).Either way, you have to hand it to them, the EICTA has been very successful in getting some mainstream newspapers to reprint their propaganda, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the patent arms dealers either. Just when I was really starting to get optomistic about this too :-/Update: Not all bad news today, apparently its now official – Poland does not support the Council version of the Directive which means that it no-longer has the support of a qualified majority in the Council and cannot be adopted. This creates an additional hurdle to the introduction of software patents in Europe. See the FFII press release.

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