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[Fsfe-uk] EP rejects Software Patent Directive, 648 to 14, 18 abstention

From: James Heald
Subject: [Fsfe-uk] EP rejects Software Patent Directive, 648 to 14, 18 abstentions
Date: Wed, 06 Jul 2005 11:46:18 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7) Gecko/20040616

PRESS RELEASE FFII -- [ Europe / economy / ICT ]

Parliament says No to Software Patents

Strasbourg, 6 July 2005 -- The European Parliament today decided by
a margin of 648 votes to 14, with 18 absentions, to _reject_ the
directive "on the patentability of computer implemented inventions",
also known as the software patent directive.

This rejection was the logical answer to the Commission's
refusal to restart the legislative process in February and the
Council's unwillingness to take the will of the European Parliament
and national parliaments into account.  The FFII congratulates the
European Parliament on its clear "No" to bad legislative proposals and

This is a great victory for those who have campaigned to ensure that
European innovation and competitiveness is protected from
monopolisation of software functionalities and business methods. It
marks the end of an attempt by the European Commission and
governmental patent officials to impose detrimental and legally
questionable practises of the European Patent Office (EPO) on the
member states.  However the questions created by this practise remain
unsolved.  FFII believes that the Parliament's work, in particular the
21 cross-party compromise amendments, can provide a good basis on
which future solutions, both at the national and European level, can

Jonas Maebe, FFII Board Member, comments on the outcome of today's vote:

  "This result clearly shows that thorough analysis, genuinely concerned
  citizens and factual information have more impact than free ice-cream,
  boatloads of hired lobbyists and outsourcing threats. I hope this turn
  of events can give some people faith again in the European decision
  making process. I also hope that it will encourage the Council and
  Commission to emulate the European Parliament to improve transparency
  and the ability of stakeholders to participate in the decision-making
  process irrespective of their size."

Hartmut Pilch, president of FFII, explains why FFII supported the
move for rejection in its voting recommendations:

  In recent days, the big holders of EPO-granted software patents and
  their MEPs, who had previously been campaigning for the Council's
  "Common Position", joined the call for rejection of the directive
  because it became clear that the 21 cross-party amendments
  championned by Rhoitová, Buzek, Rocard and Duff were very likely to
  be adopted by the Parliament.  It was well noticeable that support
  for these amendments or a substantial part thereof was becoming the
  mainstream opinion in all political groups.  Yet there would not
  have been much of a point in such a vote.  We rather agree to the
  assessment of the situation as given by Othmar Karas MEP in the
  Plenary yesterday: a No was the only logical answer to the
  unconstructive attitude and legally questionable manuevers of the
  Commission and Council, by which this so-called Common Position had
  come about in the first place.

The FFII also wishes to thank all those people who have taken the time
to contact their representatives either by email, phone or in
person. We also want to thank the numerous volunteers who have given
so generously of their time and energy. This is your victory as well
as the Parliament's.

Background information and further news

* 21 cross-party compromise amendments

* FFII voting recommendations for MEPs at today's plenary vote

* Practise of the European Patent Office

* Karas speech in the plenary yesterday

* Wallstreet Journal reports prominently about Lehne's conflicts of interest

* Stay tuned to our news ticker

Contact information

Hartmut Pilch and Holger Blasum
Munich Office
info at ffii org
tel. +49-89-18979927

Erik Josefsson
Brussels Office
erjos at ffii org
tel. +32-484-082063

Jonas Maebe
FFII Belgium
jmaebe at ffii org
tel. +32-485-369645

Rufus Pollock
rufus pollock at ffii org uk

Gérald Sédrati-Dinet
FFII France, Vice President FFII
gibus at ffii fr

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