Free Software Foundation Europe:
Saving the CII Directive
Abstaining is not neutral, it means fully supporting the Council's text.
The Council's text ignores the Parliament's first reading and places no effective limits on the scope of patentability.
Interoperability amendments can only fix one class of problems. We would prefer Erika Mann's amendment to Kauppi's, but preventing the whole software patent problem would be far better use of this opportunity.
"Computer-implemented inventions", is a broad term:
- It includes "high-tech" innovations, such as medical devices and ABS breaking systems for cars. We are NOT opposing the patenting of high-tech innovations.
- It also includes ways of using a standard computer: for business methods, for communication, sharing information, and for displaying information. We oppose the patenting of these things ("software patents").
The Buzek-Rocard amendments permit patents on high-tech innovations, but prevent software patents by limiting patentability to innovations in "applied natural science" (touchable things, not everything thinkable).
Patents would not keep jobs in Europe. US companies are moving their IT jobs to low cost economies. Gartner Group reports IT jobs in the US have dropped 16% in 3 years.
A recent BSA study confirmed "computer-implemented inventions" is a term for what is "usually referred to as 'software patents' in the US". This is why, despite making nothing but software, SAP have placed full-page ads in the European Voice asking for "computer-implemented invention" patents. 2 this week and 2 last week.
European patents are enforceable only against Europeans. They are not enforceable in the US; for that you need a US patent, and they are already available to Europeans. 73% of European software patents have been granted to non-European companies.
This directive will allow software patenting, not because it contains clear wording in favour of them, but because it relies on the undefined terms ("technical", "technical contribution", and others), because it relies on grammatical tricks like "software as such", and because it relies on meaningless classifications like "pure software". This is not what EU directive quality should be.
To make this directive a directive for "high-tech" innovations and not the software patent directive that it is today, we ask you to vote for the Buzek-Rocard amendments.