|CEC 2003/11||Council 04/01/29||CEC 2004/05||Karas||table 2004/07/15|
Les chefs de cabinet recommandent au Collège d'autoriser M. BOLKESTEIN à soutenir le compromis de la présidence dans la perspective d'une prochaine décision du Conseil, conformément à la ligne indiquée au document SEC(2004) 525 et dans la mesure où l'équilibre de la proposition initiale de la Commission est préservé.
Il est pris acte que M. BOLKESTEIN, en accord avec M. MONTI, veillera au contenu du considérant n° 17, aux termes duquel les dispositions de la directive, en particulier concernant la question de l'interopérabilité, ne préjugent pas l'application des articles 81 et 82 du Traité.
Le Chef de cabinet de M. LIIKANEN émet une réserve d'attente concernant l'aspect de l'interopérabilité.
Updated version of fiche "GrAC" in the light of the Intellectual Property Working Party (Patents) meeting of 30 March 2004 and COREPER on 21 April 2004
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions.
The package previously agreed at GAP/hebdo (August 2003) balanced an acceptance of claims for computer programs on carriers (Article 5(2)) in exchange for an additional interoperability exception (Article 6a).
The current Presidency compromise is based on this package except that the intention behind Article 6a is covered by a new Recital 17 agreed by MSs in Council working group.
In our view, the new Recital 17 provides adequate provision to deal with abuses hindering interoperability. This is rightly dealt with under competition rules and the Commission has shown that it is not afraid to defend third parties by robustly applying these rules (e.g. Microsoft). Interoperability in the context of acts permitted under copyright is already covered by existing Article 6.
Moreover, any fear that Article 5(2) may appear to allow the patenting of computer programs as such is addressed in several places as follows:
Additionally, other aspects serve to reinforce the overall balance of the text, such as Recital 12 on technical contribution and Articles 7, 8(ca) 8(cd) and 8a on reporting. Therefore, as a whole we feel that this text provides a compromise with which the Commission could agree.
The Intellectual Property Working Party (Patents) discussed the amendments proposed by the European Parliament on several occasions, the latest being 30 March 2004 and has agreed to take on board a number thereof. The Presidency�s compromise text reflects the text of the Council�s common approach mentioned above, as amended in order to accommodate some of the amendments proposed by the European Parliament. Furthermore, the Presidency�s text generally reflects the position taken by Commissioner Bolkestein at the EP plenary session.
As a result of COREPER on 21 April, the Presidency's text (8731/04) appears to be
Article 2 (b) contains a definition of "technical contribution". DE, with some support from BE and DK for the intention, has proposed an expanded definition which draws on amendments 107 and 69 (slightly modified) of the European Parliament, which were rejected by the Commission. The other delegations prefer the wording contained in the Presidency text. At COREPER the Presidency was not minded to take this amendment on board.
In relation to the issue of interoperability, the competition aspect is now covered by recital 17. Some MS were interested in a more extensive provision in the direction of Parliament�s Article 6a, which was unacceptable to the Commission because the wording went considerably beyond the context of interoperability and would introduce exceptions to the scope of patent protection which are incompatible with our international obligations under the WTO TRIPs Agreement. However most agreed that that the issue could be dealt with through competition rules as in recital 17, and any further provision should be kept in hand for the second reading.
Claims to a computer program on its own or on a carrier
The compromise text states in Article 5, paragraph 2 that:
All delegations accept this Article.
The requirement that claims which are consistent with paragraph 1 be included in the patent application if the form of claim in paragraph 2 is used ensures that the substance of all claims in a patent is in conformity with what was originally intended by the Commission.
New Recital 17 clarifies the role of competition law in cases where a dominant supplier limits the use of a technique required for interoperability. It states that:
Most delegations feel that this is the best way to deal with any potential difficulties in this area. FR has a reservation because they feel that the particular wording may be broader than necessary to ensure interoperability.
In light of the recent decision in the Microsoft case, the Commission has shown itself capable of dealing with this issue in the manner foreseen by this recital.
Commission report on the effect of the directive
Articles 7, 8(ca) 8(cd) and 8a require that the Commission monitor and report on the effect of the directive on the development and commercialisation of interoperable computer programs. This requirement will allow the Commission to propose amendments to this directive if the provisions relating to interoperability are found to be insufficient.