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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<html newsdate="2013-04-22">
<title>German Parliament says: Stop Granting Software Patents</title>
<h1>German Parliament says: Stop Granting Software Patents</h1>
<p>The German Parliament, the Bundestag, has introduced
a joint motion against software patents. The resolution urges the
German government to take steps to limit the granting of patents on
computer programs.
<a href="">In the resolution</a>, the Parliament says that patents on software
restrict developers from exercising their copyright privileges,
including the right to distribute their programs as Free
Software. They promote the creation of monopolies in the software
market, and hurt innovation and job creation.
<i>[Correction 2013-04-24: Parliament
did not yet adopt the motion, but rather decided to pass it to the
parliament committees for further consideration.]</i>
"Software patents are harmful in every way, and are useless at promoting innovation", says Karsten
Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. "We urge
the German government to act on this resolution as soon as possible,
and relieve software developers from the needless patent-related costs
and risks under which they are currently suffering."
<a href="/activities/swpat/swpat.html">Software patents are illegal</a> under the European Patent Convention.
Nevertheless, the European Patent Office has granted tens of thousands
of patents covering software. As a result, software developers constantly
risk being accused of patent infringement. This causes legal
uncertainty which is costly for large companies, and potentially
deadly for small ones.
The Parliament's resolution reminds the government that, under the
EU's Computer Programs Directive, software is covered by copyright,
not patents. It calls on the government to finally put the directive's
"copyright approach" into practice, and make German law more concrete
in this regard. It also points out that the restrictions which patents
impose are incompatible with the most widely used Free Software
For any future initiative to reform European rules on copyright and
patents, the Parliament asks the German government to make sure that
developers' economic exploitation rights for their programs are not
restricted by patents. The government should also push to ensure that
software is covered by copyright alone, and that patent offices
(including the European Patent Office) stop granting patents on
<h3>More information</h3>
<li><a href="">Joint Motion approved by the Bundestag</a> (in German, PDF)</li>
<li><a href="/activities/swpat/swpat.html">Background on software patents</a></li>
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<tag key="european-union"/>
<tag key="de"/>
<tag key="de"/>
<tag key="swpat">Software Patents</tag>