European software patents directive to be re-examined

At last, the cat-and-mouse game of the software patent lobbyists is over. FII reports that the European Parliament JURI Committee votes for restart with massive majority:

The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (JURI) has decided with a large majority to ask the Commission for a renewed referral of the software patents directive. With only two or three votes against and one abstention, the resolution had overwhelming support from the committee, and all-party backing.

The decision is a powerful statement from MEPs that the current Council text, and the logjam of concern it has caused, is simply not a sustainable way forward. It is now up to the Commission to submit a new, or the same, proposal to the Parliament. Parliament will then hold a new first reading, this time under the guidance of Michel Rocard MEP as rapporteur.

And Michel Rocard (former French Prime Minister) did a speech to the commissioner McCreevy that quite clearly explains on which side he stands regarding software patents:

The patentability of software causes problems. Our friends the Americans do not have any legislation on this topic. Their responsible agencies seem to have granted between 100 and 200 000 such patents, validated by lower courts in certain cases. A few complaints are being addressed in front of the Supreme Court currently, due to violation of the Constitution which is penally quite expensive. It's a violation of the Constitution because there is a violation of the freedom of spreading ideas, given that software is nothing but a formula or an collection of mathematical formulas, and because a mathematical formula is an idea expressed in mathematical form ; it seems likely that the Supreme Court is waiting for the European law to be established before it will decide. As such, we are sort of in charge of making the law for the world. One should remember that the main stake is to preserve the liberty to create and use software by individual researchers and SMEs.

Good! Now let's hope the Parliament keeps its stance against those patents.

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