Letters Urgent Appeal The Text Qualified Parliament
Urgent Call to National Governments and Parliaments
Europe’s governments are about to put their stamps under a directive proposal for unlimited patentability and unfettered patent enforcement of “computer-implemented” algorithms and business methods. The agreement by the Council of Ministers of 2004-05-18 discards well-deliberated decisions of the European Parliament and the EU’s consultative organs without any justification and without democratic legitimation. The majority was secured by deceptive packaging and by questionable diplomatic maneuvering at the decisive session. The undersigned, who represent the leaders of software innovation and informed discussion on software innovation policy in Europe, ask the responsible politicians to pull the emergency break and to reorganise the process of competitivity legislation in the Council.
Heads of 25 governments and parliaments, other concerned politiciansSubject:
Software Patent Directive: Request to reopen Council Discussion
* We are concerned that
* For these reasons we urge you to
We are concerned that
1. The Competitiveness Council session of 18 May 2004 reached a qualified majority for a version of the software patent directive 2002/0047 COM (COD) that would impose unlimited patentability and unfettered patent enforcement of “computer-implemented” algorithms and business methods on Europe. There is a general consensus among economists and software professionals that such a regime, as exists in the USA, is disastrous for innovation, competition and growth of the information-based economy.
2. The proposed text is designed to mislead ministers about its real effects. It consists of many sentences of the form or “software is … [ rhetorically bloated emphasis ] … unpatentable, unless … [ condition, which, upon closer scrutiny, turns to be always true ]”. Fake limits of this type pervade the proposal and especially the central provisions which were used for persuading the ministers (see annex A).
3. The moderators of the Competitiveness Council session pushed the participants toward accepting the proposal by deception, pressure and surprise tactics, thus even making it questionable whether a valid majority was achieved. It can be said with certainty that only a minority of governments really agrees with what was negotiated, but several governments were misrepresented by their negotiators, who broke intra-ministerial agreements or even violated instructions from their superiors (see annex B).
4. The European Parliament has already, through a series of amendments, rejected texts from the Commission and the JURI Committee, which were largely identical in wording and spirit to that approved now by the Council. The amendments reflected the demands of the vast majority of software innovators and innnovation policy researchers in the EU, including the authors of studies ordered by the Commisson as well as the members of the EU’s consultative organs (see annex C).
5. The Council has ignored and rejected all the work of the Parliament and the consultative organs of the EU without any justification and without democratic legitimation. The text is not presented as a means of achieving any policy objective, but rather as a “compromise” between governments. It was negotiated under a veil of secrecy between anonymous ministerial officials, most of whom are in charge of running national patent offices and thereby part of a community with a vested interest in unlimited patentability.
For these reasons we urge you to
1. ask the Council Presidency to withdraw the voting on the software patent directive (2002/0047 COM (COD)) from the agenda of the next Council session where it is awaiting formal approval.
2. take the dossier out of the hands of the patent bureaucracy, and restore true political scrutiny of the impact of the proposed text. The designation of representatives in the Council working party should be publicly presented and debated (in Parliaments where the institutional framework allows).
3. urge other governments to do the same and ultimately to reform the EU Council so as to prevent catastrophes such as the present one from happening in the future.
ConfÈdÈration EuropÈenne des Associations Petites et Moyennes Entreprises
22 member associations from 19 European countries representing in total more than 500,000 enterprises.
Consortium for Open Source Middleware Architectures
Among the members are many large companies
represents interests of 60000 supporters and 1000 companies on matters of software property->Jˆrg Tauss
member of Parliament, Germany, Speaker for IT, Media and Education of Social Democratic Party->Marek Balicki
Polish Senator, Poland, Social Democratic Party of Poland->JosÈ Magalh„es
Portugal, IT expert of Socialist Party->Olga Zrihen
MEP, PSE, Belgium, PS->Johanna Boogerd
MEP, ELDR, Netherlands->Carl Schlyter
top candidate for the European Parliament, The Green Party of Sweden->Gustav Fridolin
member of Parliament, Sweden, Greens->Pernille Frahm
MEP, GUE/NGL (SF)->Margrete Auken
member of Parliament, Denmark, SF->Jonas Sjˆstedt
MEP, Sweden, GUE/NGL, V‰nsterpartiet->Jens Holm
MEP candidate, Sweden, GUE/NGL, V‰nsterpartiet->ANSOL
->CC.OO. (Comisiones Obreras)
one of Spain’s largest trade unions->Hispalinux
libre software association of Spain, with more than 7,500 members->ATI (AsociaciÛn de TÈcnicos de Inform·tica)
largest Spanish association of computer professionals, about 5,000 members->AsociaciÛn de Internautas
Spanish association of Internet users and professionals->UTS (UniÛn TelefÛnica Sindical)
a trade union of the workers of Grupo Telefonica, Spanish largest PTT->ProInnova
Spanish working group on software innovation->SkÂne SjÊlland Linux User Group
5000 members->ESR Pollmeier GmbH
contact: Stefan Pollmeier, Managing Director->MySQL
contact: David Axmark, Michael Widenius, Florian Mueller->more signatures
664 persons have so far signed this appeal via the FFII participation system.
The main text is submitted together with the Call for Action II with logos of signatories. In addition, the following annex documents are submitted.
->A: Fake Limits on Patentability in the Council Proposal
->B: Council 2004-05-18: an Unqualified Majority
->C: Analysis and Opinion Behind the Parliament’s Decision
->D: Software Patents in Europe: A Short Overview
->O: ObjectWeb letter
->Offensive gegen Softwarepatent-Richtlinie
Heise.de reports about this letter
[ Letters and Appeals against Patent Inflation ? Urgent Call to National Governments and Parliaments | Fake Limits on Patentability in the Council Proposal | Council 2004-05-18: an Unqualified Majority | Analysis and Opinion Behind the Parliament’s Decision ]
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