Given that the current Council proposal was written behind closed doors by patent office administrators, this unworldly outcome should not surprise anyone, unfortunately.
Their convoluted and misleading Patent Newspeak, negotiated in intransparent backroom dealings, is an insult to the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of Regions and the innumerable experts and stakeholders who have engaged in serious investigations on this directive project with us. Not only did the Commission and Council fail to do their own homework, they are now also attempting to throw away all the hard work that the elected legislators did for them, without even trying to respond to the concerns which have been raised.
It is clear that the national patent officials in the Council do not want "harmonisation" or "clarification". They merely want to secure the interests of the patent establishment. If they don't get what they want, they simply bury the directive project and try to find other ways to get around the existing law, whose clarity is so painful to them.
The new draft rejects all of the European Parliament's limiting amendments, and is described by FFII as "the most uncompromisingly pro-patent text yet".
Technically, the decision by COREPER on Wednesday is only a "forecast" of the final decision, to be confirmed at the Competitiveness Council of Ministers on 17-18 May. Until that date, Member states can still change their minds (and their votes).
Support for the text at a political level in some states is still said to be quite soft; and decisions brokered in Coreper do fall apart (last year's discussions on the Community Patent, for example).
The Coreper text goes further than the text of the European Commission of 2002 in legalising software patents. In 2002 the Commission had agreed, in difficult negotiations between DG Internal Market (Bolkestein) and DG Informations Societey (Liikanen) not to allow program claims. Now it seems that DG Information Society has rolled over to the united pressure of Bolkestein and the Council's patent administrators.
A leaked document from Bolkestein's DG Internal Market suggests that DG Information Society no longer objects to program claims. This concession by Liikanen is needed in order to rush the Council working group proposal through the ministers' session as an "A item", i.e. a consensus point which does not need any discussion by the ministers.
For next week, the FFII is calling for another net strike and a wave of local events and demonstrations. Even these days people are demonstrating with banners near the offices of the Commission.
Jonas Maebe +32-485-36-96-45 (Dutch/English)
Erik Josefsson +46-707-696567 (Swedish/English)
Thierry Coutelier +352 406776 (French/German/English)
Benjamin Henrion +32-498-292771 (French/English)
Dieter Van Uytvanck +32-499-16-70-10 (Dutch/English)
Tomasz Marciniak +48-61-8779-208 (Polish)
Stepan Kasal +42-0-257323410 (Czech)
James Heald +44 778910 7539 (English)
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