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  4. <title>FSFE - Software Patents in Europe</title>
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  7. <center><h1>Software Patents in Europe</h1>
  8. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/swpat.html">Introduction</a> | <a
  9. href="/campaigns/swpat/background.html">Background</a> | Status | <a
  10. href="/campaigns/swpat/documents.html">Further Reading</a>]
  11. </center>
  12. <h2>Current Status</h2>
  13. <p>The European Commission's original proposal for the directive was
  14. heavily criticised for allowing unlimited patenting of software,
  15. calcuation rules and business processes, while making the claim of not
  16. doing so.</p>
  17. <p class="indent"><b>September 24, 2003:</b> The European Parliament, the
  18. only body in the European Union that is elected directly by its
  19. citizens, had to decide on the commission's proposal. Giving the needs
  20. of European citizens and industry preference, the Parliament passed the
  21. directive after limiting the scope of patentability to exclude pure,
  22. abstract software without a technical context.<br />
  23. This decision was regarded a victory for democracy and a
  24. step towards a more transparent and participatory European Union by
  25. many.</p>
  26. <p class="indent"><b>May 18, 2004:</b> The council of the European Union,
  27. a body representing the Ministers of its member states, rejected the
  28. parliament's version. Instead it agreed upon a new proposal of the
  29. commission that was in effect identical to the original proposal, in
  30. some respects even worse. Formal adoption of that proposal was
  31. delayed, however.</p>
  32. <p class="indent"><b>December 21, 2004:</b> The directive was put on the
  33. agenda of the EU Council on Agriculture and Fishery to be approved as
  34. a so-called "A-item" without further discussion.<br />
  35. Paying an unexpected visit, Poland's Vice Minister of
  36. Science, Wodzimierz Marcinski, vetoed this item at the beginning of
  37. the meeting, so it was taken off the agenda. Poland received much
  38. well-deserved applause for this act in defense of democracy and
  39. prevented serious harm to European economy.</p>
  40. <p class="indent"><b>March 7th, 2005:</b> Was a black day for
  41. European democracy, citizens and economy. With remarkable
  42. disregard for democracy, the EU Presidency forced the
  43. software patent directive on the agenda as an A-item. This
  44. was done against the explicit will of several countries
  45. present at the meeting and ignoring the European Parliament
  46. as well as several national parliaments. The officially
  47. stated reason were "formal procedural rules."</p>
  48. <p class="indent"><b>July 6th, 2005:</b> With an overwhelming majority of
  49. 648 of 680 votes, the European Parliament rejected the entire
  50. software patent directive: sending a strong message against
  51. software patents in Europe and a sign of protest against
  52. corruption of democratic processes. Now it will be important
  53. to establish democratic control of the European Patent Office (EPO) --
  54. more information also available in the <a
  55. href="http://mail.fsfeurope.org/pipermail/press-release/2005q3/000109.html">FSFE
  56. press release</a>.</p>
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