I'm writing with concern that your good paper, along with the other
broadsheets, seems to be have been caught asleep at it's post as the
Computer Implemented Invention directive (patenting software, or the
unpatentable in laymens terms) weaves its way through the EU
Those of us in the software industry who understand the huge negative
impact software patents will have, are watching in horror as a story
to match eastenders or coronation street unfolds. The cast includes
the normal vilains (a convicted monopolist that spawned a million
virus, grey suited corporate fat cats and their lawyers), victims
(small business, free software developers and the paying public) and
the under-dog band of MEPs and Campaigners.
The story so far :
The UK and EU patent offices start allowing dodgy patents for
software, following the lead in the united states.
A collection of special interests form as they notice they could get
the same money-for-nothing extortion racket in the EU as in the US and
The special interests lobby ministers and commisioners behind closed
doors, together with the Patent Offices who want a clean bill of
health for all the dodgy patents they've already shifted while nobody
The European Council get the Patent Offices and special interests to
help them draft some legislation to make software patents possible.
The European Parliament gives the legislation a thorough read and
spots the deliberate mistake before voting to correct the mistakes and
make everything clear. Special interests in the European Parliament
attempt to stifle and stop the amendments but they pass with a clear
The European Council rejects the much needed amendments without
discussion or reason and attempts to approve its own flawed directive
undiscussed and unamended - first they try twice to rubber stamp it at
Agriculture and Fisheries meetings but Poland bravely gets the item
removed from the agenda, and various countries remove their support
until there is no longer a majority supporting the directive.
Then the European Parliament JURI and presidents vote to restart the
legislation and do it properly this time. The commisioner and
president refuse to restart and try to twist the arm of poland's
representative some more.
Several national parliaments demand their representatives object and
remove the directive from the agenda so that it can either be amended
or restarted. The representives reluctantly try to take the directive
off the agenda before anybody can rubber stamp it but crucially fail
as the Presidency of the council makes up the rules as he goes along
and in a cliffhanger that could leave the european software industry
wheelchair bound or in a coma, the directive is rubber stamped
unamended and undiscussed leaving only a massive majority vote against
it between us and billions of euros in software patent litigation, job
losses and hugely inflated software prices.
you can read the whole sorry saga, with the juicy details of who's
corrupt, who did and said what and which council ministers lied to or
misrepresented their parliaments at www.ffii.org and
Unfortunately the UK press have no interest anything technical or
european so I don't expect to hear any more about this until I lose my
job or take a pay cut to cover all the legal costs of litigation,
licenses and general extortion.
Its probably too long but hey what the heck - they don't provide any way to actually contact the journalists, and it would be nice to start some debate even if its a couple of years late.