Linux Today: Linux News On Internet Time.

EuroLinux Alliance: Juridical Coup at the European Patent Office

Nov 07, 2001, 21:01 (24 Talkback[s])

Munich, Paris. 2001-11-05 - Without waiting for the expected vote by the European Union of a directive on the patentatibility of software, the European Patent Office just published a new examination directive which extends the realm of the European patent practice to software, business methods and mathematics [1,2].

This decision constitutes a violation of the European democracy and a provocation against European governments which had publicly stated last November 2000 that they wanted tighter political control over the European Patent Office and decided to preserve the exception for computer programmes. [3] This shameful and unacceptable decision also constitutes a violation of Article 22 of of the European Patent Convention which stipulates that only the Enlarged Board of Appeal may take decisions on significant patent policy issues. However, the European Patent Office has extended the realm of the European patent practice through hidden decisions of technical boards in order not to ask their opinion to European governments. The European Patent Office has tried to circumvent the democratic control of European Governments through adventurous administrative processes. The European Patent Office ignores its ruling authorities. [4] The European Patent Office scorns the 80% of software companies which are against software patents. [5, 6]

EuroLinux demands that European governments act firmly.

All projects of directive on the patentability of software, based on the opinion of European governments, and written by the General Directorate for Internal Market, require the European Patent Office to act in a controlable and sensible way. However, control and common sense do not seem to be appropriate terms for the current behaviour of the European Patent Office. Therefore, EuroLinux demands governments to

  • clearly state their oppositioons to the patentability of software and intangible innovations,
  • demonstrate to the public opinion their ability to control the European Patent Office by replacing urgently the current board, responsible of repeated violations of the European Patent Convention and of the Diplomatic Conference.

EuroLinux urges all companies, all software users and all citizens who whish to protect software innovation in Europe and free competition in the information society to join the 90.000 individual supporters and 300 corporate supporters of our petition for a software patent free Europe [7].


[1] EPO Press Release for the new examination rules for software - <A HREF="http://swpat.ffii.org/cnino/epgl01A/indexen.html">http://swpat.ffii.org/cnino/epgl01A/indexen.html</A>;

[2] New EPO examination rules for software - <A HREF="http://www.epo.co.at/legal/gui_lines/f/c_iv_2.htm">http://www.epo.co.at/legal/gui_lines/f/c_iv_2.htm</A>;

[3] EPO Press Release after the November 2001 conference 2001 - <A HREF="http://www.european-patent-office.org/news/pressrel/2000_11_29_e.htm">http://www.european-patent-office.org/news/pressrel/2000_11_29_e.htm</A>;

[4] Stealing with a Righteous Effect, a tale explaining how the EPO could patnet the unpatentable -
<A HREF="http://swpat.ffii.org/stidi/epc52/moses/indexen.html">http://swpat.ffii.org/stidi/epc52/moses/indexen.html</A>;

[5] The Results of the European Commission Consultation Exercise - <A HREF="http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/indprop/softanalyse.pdf">http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/indprop/softanalyse.pdf</A>;

[6] Acceptable protection of software intellectual property: a survey of software developers and lawyers - <A HREF="http://www.pro-innovation.org/rapport_brevet/economy/elsevier/acceptable.pdf">http://www.pro-innovation.org/rapport_brevet/economy/elsevier/acceptable.pdf</A>;

[7] EuroLinux Petition - <A HREF="http://petition.eurolinux.org">http://petition.eurolinux.org</A>;

About EuroLinux - <A HREF="http://www.EuroLinux.org/">www.EuroLinux.org</A>

The EuroLinux Alliance for a Free Information Infrastructure is an open coalition of commercial companies and non-profit associations united to promote and protect a vigourous European Software Culture based on Open Standards, Open Competition, Linux and Open Source Software. Companies members or supporters of EuroLinux develop or sell software under free, semi-free and non-free licenses for operating systems such as Linux, MacOS or Windows.

The EuroLinux Alliance launched on 2000-06-15 an electronic petition to protect software innovation in Europe. The EuroLinux petition has received so far massive support from more than 90.000 European citizens, 2000 corporate managers and 300 companies.

The EuroLinux Alliance has co-organised in 1999, together with the French Embassy in Japan, the first Europe-Japan conference on Linux and Free Software. The EuroLinux Alliance is at the initiative of the <A HREF="http://www.freepatents.org/">www.freepatents.org</A> web site to promote and protect innovation and competition in the European IT industry.

Press Contacts

France & Europe: Jean-Paul Smets <jp@smets.com> +33-6 62 05 76 14 Germany & Europe: Harmut Pilch <phm@ffii.org> +49-89 127 89 608 Denmark and Northern Europe: Anne &Oslash;stergaard <aoe@sslug.dk> Belgium: Nicolas Pettiaux <nicolas.pettiaux@linuxbe.org>

Permanent URL for this PR



Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. All other trademarks and copyrights are owned by their respective companies.