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06.01.11

European Court of Justice and Baroness Wilcox Could Learn From Spain, Italy

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Baroness Wilcox
Credit: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

Summary: Where Spain and Italy are correct (EU Patent opposition) it remains for the United Kingdom and Brussels’ politicians to catch up

THERE IS increased pressure to legalise software patents in Europe (through the back door) and standing in the way of such a travesty we have had Spain and Italy. Spain is absolutely right and it needs to withstand financial blackmail. Some European countries have their corrupt politicians try retaliation/retribution against Spain and Italy, for merely doing what is right for the whole of Europe, not just for those nations alone. Their foes would continue to use words like “unify” and “harmonise” to deceive the masses. This daemonises those who belong to the opposition. It sounds like they are against union rather than against insidious litigation from the outside.

Techrights is grateful to the FFII for keeping track of news like this bit and this other bit, which help confirm that Spain and Italy stick to their guns.

Italy and Spain on Monday said they would appeal to the European Court of Justice against the single European Union patent approved by the other 25 EU members.

Rome and Madrid say the patent introduces “unacceptable discrimination” because it is only written in French, English and German. The announcement came at an EU competitiveness council in Brussels, where Italy’s representative, Vincenzo Grassi, called the patent “one of the most divisive pages in European Union history”. Spain’s secretary of state for EU affairs, Diego Lopez Garrido, said the patent was “a discriminatory measure that goes against the principles of the European Union”.

This brings us to the UK, which personally affects me a lot more. Baroness Wilcox has agreed to participate in a pilot program with Peer To Patent, but she does not appear to have joined the opposition above — an opposition to something which is unconstitutional and be even be described as a hack.

Our criticism of the ‘peer to patent’ approach (now in the UK [1, 2]) is not intended to stir up or cause infighting. In fact, we support Peer To Patent, but we advocate other solutions. In some sense, Peer To Patent can be a distraction and “Microsoft wants to invalidate software patents, but only when they are used against the company,” writes a reader of ours in mail that we have just received. He refers to this type of reports where Microsoft is said to be joining a “patent review group to avoid costly litigation”. The whole idea of crowd-sourcing patents only helps legitimise the system. On this specific issue even Microsoft Florian agrees.

The matter of fact is, Europe is already harmed by Microsoft and the Commission lets it be. Rather than address the patent extortion and stop letting Microsoft tax protocols, the Commission is now allowing Microsoft to get away with some of its abuses. Maybe all the lobbying has softened the regulators. In any case, for the uninitiated Groklaw has put together this summary on “European Commission vs. Microsoft”. It opens as follows:

Last week the Competition Directorate of the European Commission and Microsoft again did battle in the European courts. This time it was a hearing in the European Court of Justice to argue the propriety of the fine levied on Microsoft by the Commission stemming from the 2004 determination that Microsoft was violating EU competition laws. Microsoft was appealing the $1.3 billion fine on the grounds that it was excessive and had not been arrived at through proper due process.

We wrote about this case in recent posts about the hearing. What is really necessary now is (1) penalty for Microsoft if not embargo; (2) removal of every Microsoft APIs tax (software patents); (3) elimination of software patents in the patent office, as a matter of strong principle; (4) scraping of the EU patent, which is just a pig with lipstick on. In the UK, how about scraping anything which resembles a monopoly on software? Baroness Wilcox says that she wants to promote innovation; eliminating software patents altogether would be an important first step. Let is be said again: for GNU/Linux to ‘win’ software patents must die.

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2 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    June 1, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Gravatar

    The prices that M$ commands on Windows and Office are about 4-5 times what they would be without the monopoly rents. To be sure these monopolies, one on OEMs the other on office suite data formats, are the goose that lays the golden eggs. Without them, M$ cannot be profitable. So any remedies that fail to address either of these monopolies will be ineffectual.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Like a ballot that deals with browser (tied to an OS) rather than the OS itself.

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