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05.12.10

Patents Shred Europe’s Democracy to Pieces

Posted in Asia, Europe, Law, Patents at 2:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European Union

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.”

Richard Stallman

Summary: New developments in Europe and in India show not only that software patents are being pushed into Europe but that people are also left to die with TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights)

ACCORDING to the FFII, the Staff Union of the EPO says that the EPO should be integrated into the Community Institutions. The FFII received a shocking letter which is summarised as follows: [via]

‘No Power for the Parliament’ warns EPO examiners association

The Staff Union of the EPO sent a letter to the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, warning of risks integrated into the accession of the European Union to the European Patent Convention (EPC). They warn that the European Parliament can be circumvented as a legislator in patent law.

This is a serious step in the wrong direction. Last year the FFII warned that democracy was being stepped on as attempts were (and still are) being made to contaminate the European system with bad patents.

IAM Magazine has published the article “Patents are “the test ground” for Europe’s commitment to a single market, says new report”

The FFII also links to new presentations from the CEIPI conference, where the EU central patent court got discussed (that’s how they can sneak software patents into Europe and outlaw Free software).

An event which will take place at Maastricht University is also being described as follow:

Intellectual Property, Open Source, and Standards: Friends or Foes?

The Institute for Globalisation and International Regulation at Maastricht University Faculty of Law and the Stockholm Network Intellectual Property & Competition Programme are delighted to invite you to a forum and debate on “Intellectual Property, Open Source and Standards: Friends or Foes?

[...]

How should we consider the relationship between patents and standards, and what are the implications of not allowing standards to be protected by IPRs? Is the dichotomy between open and proprietary standards at all justified, or are these types of standards in fact complimentary?

Terms like “IPR” make no sense. “Open Source” is fine with copyrights and trademarks. It’s only software patents which are the issue and it is typically lawyers who are trying to change the law by expanding the scope of patents, despite the fact that it’s known to be better when software patents are treated as illegal.

There is another area where patents can be harmful and many lives are at stake. The other day, Europe decided to put patents before life:

Huge seizure of Indian generic drugs at EU ports; India, global NGOs cry foul

[..]

Generic drugs from India which are meant for Latin American countries have been seized by European port authorities alleging infringement of intellectual property rights.

The Indian generic drugs shipments, which were headed for Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico and many other countries, included medicines for treatment for AIDS, Cardiac problem, schizophrenia, dementia.

Let’s not forget about TRIPS as murder. ACTA will only make things worse. Regarding the article above, Richard Stallman wrote:

EU countries are confiscating generic anti-HIV drugs made in India and being sent to various poor countries.

This article spreads confusion when it refers to patents as “intellectual property”, using the terms interchangeably. (I am sure the author does not realize how harmful that term is as propaganda.)

The EU’s attempt to confuse generic drugs with fake drugs is part of another propaganda campaign, which calls copying “counterfeiting”. ACTA is an instance of that nastiness.

The governments which have confiscated the drugs are evidently more concerned with corporate profits than with human lives. Their actions as of this moment endanger people in poor countries, but I am sure they are just as glad to threaten the inhabitants of their own countries when they can get away with it.

ACTA is not gone and based on India's provisional trade agreements with Europe, it’s back to secrecy. Here is some further analysis of the latest leaks and a summary from Slashdot that says:

The draft agreement between Europe and India on Intellectual Property Rights has been leaked, and clearly mentions at its Article 34 the possibility for administrative tribunals, such as the ones currently being setup in France via the Hadopi, to shutdown internet access of suspected downloaders (“This article shall not affect the possibility for a court or administrative authority, in accordance with Parties’ legal systems, of requiring the service provider to terminate or prevent an infringement”). The draft also contains provisions on ISPs liabilities. The European Commission is also pushing for ISPs liabilities for copyright infringements in the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, which was criticised in the public hearing on ACTA on going beyond existing EU laws and the E-commerce directive.

The FFII has called the EU “Crazy” over this.

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A Single Comment

  1. satipera said,

    May 12, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Gravatar

    The idea of patents as an incentive for innovation has been twisted to encourage a free ride for those financial bullies with the deep pockets to file patents for prior art and dubious ideas. Will natural justice and sense overcome vested interests? Patents for programming a programmable machine, it makes no sense.

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