EU Parliament warned to wait for ruling on patent law

Free software lobby groups urge caution on the EU patent proposal

The European Parliament has been asked to wait for a landmark ruling from the European Court of Justice before voting on a single-patent system for Europe that organizations fear could hurt software companies.

The issue is on the Parliament's agenda for next week, but a legal opinion from the court is not expected until later this month or even March.

"Software patents hurt innovation and are an unnecessary burden on European software developers," said Karsten Gerloff, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe. "Legislators need to take charge and make sure the patent system contributes to the public good. As the European Patent Organisation has acknowledged, this is a decision that cannot be left to bureaucrats and the judiciary."

The FSFE wants parliamentarians to hear the court's opinion before they vote as the court's advocates-general have already been highly critical of the plan. "The agreement contemplated is, in its current state, incompatible with the treaties," they said. Although not binding, court rulings generally follow the advice of the advocates.

After years of political wrangling -- efforts to develop a single E.U. patent began in 2003 -- a compromise was proposed by the European Commission last July. And in December, 11 countries agreed to go ahead with a trilingual system based on English, French and German. Another 12 states informally backed it. This left Italy, Spain, Cyprus and the Czech Republic alone in opposition.

These countries and, it appears, the European Court of Justice, believe that in this would disadvantage companies and researchers using other E.U. languages particularly in case of legal disputes.

However the current situation, where companies may have to fight legal action in several member states simultaneously, and where national courts regularly come to conflicting conclusions, is also problematic. Filing and protecting patents in Europe is also substantially higher than in the U.S.

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) and the End Software Patents (ESP) group, have also asked Parliament to wait for the Court ruling before giving approving the enhanced cooperation procedure.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Free Software Federation Europeeuropean commissionintellectual propertylegalpatent

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?