|CEU/DKPTO 2002/09||France: Non Merci||Mamère: Non Merci||PvdA.nl Rejects||Tauss: Nein Danke|
Paris, 1st of March 2002
Christian PIERRET, the minister of Industrie, SMEs, Commerce, Crafts and Consumption has notified the European Commission of the french government's position concerning the draft for a directive on the patentability of software which was presented today to the council of the internal market. Finding that the directive draft does not bring any of the expected clarifications concerning the limits of obtainable patentability, the government is worried about the scope of patentability which could be made open to all software and consequently to pure thought and business methods. However it has appeared clearly in France as well as in Europe that such an extension is largely rejected.
France has made it clear that she finds it essential to account for the merits and demerits of the protection of software resulting from the current practise of the European Patent Organisation (EPO) and its member states. The french government wants to avoid any draft that could have negative consequences on innovation, interoperability and free software as well as on the actors as a whole (publishers, integrators, users), especially the SMEs. It believes that the approach of the directive fails to respond adequately to the economic, scientific and cultural issues of the software sector as well as to the need to promote innovation which is one of the priorities of the "e.Europe" action plan. The Commission has conducted studies and a consultation in the last third of the year 2000. The directive draft presented to the member states however does not clearly assess the risks which a legitimation of the practise of the EPO in the member states would bring, in comparison to the advantages. Various studies and reports conducted in several member states have appeared rather unenthusiastic about such an evolution. At the initiative of France, among others, the Diplomatic Conference for the Revision of the European Patent Convention (EPC) which was held in Munich in november 2000 had decided not to change the rulings of the European Patent Convention on this subject, wishing that a clear European position could be found on the basis of a precise analysis of the economic, technical and legal consequences.