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11.23.12

European Free Software Activists Fight Against Software Patents Loopholes: Unitary Patent and FRAND

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Press coverage following worrisome action that jeopardises small software developers in the EU

“Unitary Patent,” say French Free software activists, is “a compromise that excludes the Parliament, the European law and its citizens” and their post says:

n Monday 12th of November, the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) of the European Parliament held an extraordinary debate about the unitary patent, which was attended by Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner in charge of internal market. According to our sources, he has welcomed with the compromise found in the Council by the Cypriot Presidency. However, and as April highlighted it, this solution infringes the Union Law, and does not provide any democratic safeguard. These questions have been cleared out, even though the Commission is aware about the likely unlawfulness of this project.

Because of this, several MEPs demonstrated only a very limited support to this proposal. Some of the MEPs, such as Eva Lichtenberger (Greens/EFA) or Françoise Castex (Party of European Socialists), even opposed immediately the Council’s new version.

Still, it appears that the text will be submitted again during the next plenary session of the European Parliament on December 11th, 2012, following a vote from the Council of the European Union on December 10th.

The lack of public communication from the European Parliament shows furthermore its lack of haste on this matter: though the debates could not be broadcasted due to a technical difficulty – and on that point the content of the Council’s proposal was in fact not even released1, no official communication was issued by the European Parliament.

It seems like the unitary patent is moving forward, making ways for software patents in Europe. The Irish press wrote about it:

The European Union is readying a way to make the process of obtaining a patent simpler and less expensive, but it could also make it dangerously easy for litigants to block sales of their competitors’ products across the region, according to a French advocacy group.

There is concurrently a loophole called FRAND and it helps bring software patents from a back door. The founder of the FSFE spoke about it yesterday. His slides are online.

Presentation at Nov 22nd workshop at EC workshop on FRAND and Open Source by Kolab Systems AG.

FRAND is being promoted by Microsoft and proprietary software allies. We must fight back.

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