Summary: Patent news from Europe, courtesy of FFII for the most part
THE European authorities have turned rather FOSS-hostile as we showed over the past year or two. The people at the top put unhelpful policies in place (compared to their predecessors) and many in FOSS circles are in denial over it. This new workshop is no exception. “In particular,” says the page, “the workshop will help to identify advantages and disadvantages of patent pools in relation to ICT standardisation and to subsequently identify how patent pools could best function in order to avoid antitrust concerns.”
If they altogether ban software patents, then workshops like this might become obsolete. But patent lawyers in Europe keep working hard to spread patents in Europe. Here is the latest they have to say about the Unitary Patent:
Wednesday afternoons and unitary patent reform are beginning to be an all too common event for the patent lawyers amongst us, and especially for Baroness Wilcox (Minister of State, Department of Business, Innovation & Skills). Yesterday afternoon she was before the House of Lords EU Sub-Committee E on Justice and Institutions on the on-going saga of the proposed unitary patent reform. The latest of the hearings followed the earlier and somewhat fraught session before the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee a couple of weeks ago (see previous reports here and here), which itself followed the expert witness session held in January (see reports here and here).
As the FFII’s president puts it, the “Patent mafia is composing the Committee for the Rules of Procedure for the Unitary patent court” — something which is shown here. More promotion of more patents in Europe:
All of this naturally means that, while politicians negotiate on the substantive provisions and court locations, there is a degree of waiting around for those us inhabiting the less rarefied air of European patent politics. Readers may think they can now sink comfortably into their office chairs, switch off and await further news. “Maybe”, says the AmeriKat, “But not for long …”
Separately, says the FFII’s president in a tweet, “Mrs Kroes voted for FRAND and EU patent court, that’s not really defending software freedom” (we showed a lot of evidence of this).
The FFII also reminds us of the blackmail in Spain when it mentions the pressure on Italy (which along with Spain opposes the Unitary Patent). “Yes,” the FFII says, the Unitary Patent “is a real issue. Also the attempts of Italy to blackmail the EU to accept Milan lays no good foundation for a Court.” Here are some questions on the subject and a mention from Spiegal regarding the “European RAND attack on the web innovation model”. The European Union needs to ban RAND, FRAND, and software patents in general, including euphemisms related to these; otherwise it plays into the hands of multinationals, not Europeans. █