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European Software Patents Boxing Match: Round 2

Anti-software patent brigade pushing what is called a European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA)

Europe's anti-software patent brigade thinks that the pro-patent contingent, whose software patents bill was overwhelming voted down in the European Parliament at the eleventh hour last year, is trying to make an end run around its defeat and advance its patent cause through the backdoor by pushing what is called a European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA).

This EPLA proposal, backed by European Commissioner for the Internal Market Charlie McCreevy, a guy the anti-software patent people claim is in Microsoft's pocket - because he's Irish and Microsoft spends a lot of money in Ireland - would establish a new European Patent Judiciary (EPJ) that, in turn, would establish a new European Patent Court (EPCt).

This European Patent Court would replace the national courts in all EU countries acceding to the EPLA with respect to all litigation concerning the validity and infringement of patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO).

Since the EPO backs software patents, the anti-patent folks figure software patents would just become the de facto norm.

So now - a few weeks before the EPLA comes to a vote in mid-October - three international parties in the European Parliament have aligned to try to shoot the EPLA proposal down and have tabled a joint counter-proposal against the EPLA that claims it weakens democracy, compromises judicial independence, increases litigation costs and exposes SMEs to greater risks. A fourth political party has filed a motion of its own that is largely consistent with anti-patent proposal.

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Most Recent Comments
Jonas Maebe 09/24/06 07:11:15 AM EDT

There's an error in your article: the EPLA does not come to vote in the EP at all (since the EU Community is not party the negotiations of setting it up, only its individual member states and a number of other countries are).

What's coming to vote in the EP is a motion for a resolution concerning patent policy. Currently one proposed motion is supporting the EPLA and two others are opposing it. Regardless of which one gets approved, it will have no binding consequences. It's pure politics.

.NET News Desk 09/23/06 08:11:28 PM EDT

Europe's anti-software patent brigade thinks that the pro-patent contingent, whose software patents bill was overwhelming voted down in the European Parliament at the eleventh hour last year, is trying to make an end run around its defeat and advance its patent cause through the backdoor by pushing what is called a European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA).

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