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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <html newsdate="2013-06-12">
  3. <version>1</version>
  4. <head>
  5. <title>German Parliament tells government to strictly limit patents on software</title>
  6. </head>
  7. <body>
  8. <h1>German Parliament tells government to strictly limit patents on software</h1>
  9. <p>On Friday the 7th of June the German Parliament <a
  10. href="">decided
  11. upon</a> a <a href="">joint
  12. motion to limit software patents</a> (see <a
  13. href="">English translation by
  14. BIKT</a>). The Parliament urges the German Government to take steps to
  15. limit the granting of patents on computer programs. Software should
  16. exclusively be covered by copyright, and the rights of the copyright
  17. holders should not be devalued by third parties' software patents.  The
  18. only exception where patents should be allowed are computer programs which
  19. replace a mechanical or electromagnetic component. In addition the
  20. Parliament made clear that governmental actions related to patents must
  21. never interfere with the legality of distributing Free Software.</p>
  22. <blockquote><p>"This  is an important step to fix the software patent
  23. insanity. The FSFE highly  welcomes this decision. It's great to see that
  24. all of Germany's major parties understand that software patents are a
  25. huge problem and that they are acting accordingly," says  Matthias
  26. Kirschner, FSFE's coordinator for Germany.</p></blockquote>
  27. <p>Tens of thousands of software patents in Germany and Europe present
  28. enormous cost and liability risks, especially for SMEs. Several German SME
  29. associations welcomed the Parliament's decision. However they warn against
  30. giving all the responsibility to Brussels, as the EU has been consistently
  31. incapable of providing software developers with legal certainty. "Germany
  32. now has to implement this decision in law, to send a strong signal towards
  33. Brussels," says Johannes Sommer of BIKT, one of the associations.</p>
  34. <p>At an expert meeting in the Parliament on 13th May, in which FSFE also
  35. participated, industry associations BIKT and BITMi proposed changes to
  36. German copyright  and patent law. These proposals would also affect
  37. software patents which have already been granted. The first proposal is to
  38. add a  "protective shield" clause to German copyright law , introducing a
  39. <a href="">blanket ban</a> on the enforcement
  40. of patent claims with regard to software. The second proposal to be
  41. implemented in German patent law makes sure that the effect of patent
  42. claims shall not extend to works protected independently by copyright. Both
  43. proposals would prevent that patents on software can be enforced against
  44. software developers. The FSFE supports both proposals.</p>
  45. <blockquote><p>"Since the EU has decided to give away its power to make
  46. rules on the unitary patent, this step towards limiting patents on
  47. software is all the more important.", says Kirschner.</p></blockquote>
  48. <p>Background: The joint motion was introduced in German Parliament in
  49. April.  After a first hearing, the legal committee held an external expert
  50. meeting on May 13th for which FSFE published a <a
  51. href="">written
  52. statement</a> and <a
  53. href="">Matthias
  54. Kirschner's notes of his oral presentation</a>. During the hearing, a
  55. substantial majority of the external experts supported the join motion. 
  56. After recommendations from the Parliament's Legal Committee, backed up by
  57. the Committee for Economy and Technology, the Committee of Education,
  58. Research, and Engineering Results Assessment, as well as from the Committee
  59. for Culture and Media, the German Parliament in plenary session has
  60. approved unanimously the joint motion on the 7th June.</p>
  61. </body>
  62. <tags>
  63. <tag key="front-page"/>
  64. <tag key="patents">Software Patents</tag>
  65. <tag key="de"/>
  66. <tag key="policy"/>
  67. </tags>
  68. </html>
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