Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

European Parliament Fails to Agree on Computer Patents

Filed under
Misc

European parliamentarians are expected to reject legislation on Wednesday on the patenting of computer-related inventions, ending a testy four-year debate without resolution.

The main political parties in the European Parliament agreed late Tuesday to abandon the proposal rather than risk an inadequate compromise; they are to vote against the proposal at their plenary meeting on Wednesday in Strasbourg, France.

"It is clear that the proposal is dead," the conservative parliamentarian from Germany, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, said in a telephone interview late Tuesday from Strasbourg.

The proposed directive was originally meant to reconcile existing laws on computer-related patents to make it easier for inventors to register their innovations across Europe. It was seen as a crucial element in Europe's drive to become more competitive.

But during the protracted and sometimes vitriolic debate, the proposal was reshaped twice: first by the Parliament two years ago, when it tried to make it difficult to patent anything related to software; and again earlier this year, when national governments went in the opposite direction, granting much greater scope for patent protection than intended in the European Commission's original draft.

Like the politicians, industry has also been divided over the shape of the draft law, with large patent owners, including Microsoft, Nokia, Royal Philips Electronics and SAP, firmly in favor of the version allowing greater patent protection. Other software companies, among them Red Hat and Sun Microsystems, and the free software movement have warned that such a law would damp innovation, in particular in open-source software.

Thomas Vinje, a partner at the Clifford Chance law firm whose clients include Red Hat and Oracle, said, "The open-source software business model would have been seriously threatened" if the tighter law was adopted. He welcomed the moves to reject the proposed directive. "Big money has lost," he said.

Europe pioneered the concept of open-source software development, and its supporters have argued that the only way for Europe to catch up with the United States in software is by nurturing the open-source movement.

"We are quite pleased with today's debate," said Mark Webbink, Red Hat's senior legal counsel, speaking from Strasbourg. "It may not be the most positive outcome, but it's a close second."

The patent lobby was less enthusiastic. "A rejection would be unfortunate," said Les Hayman, a so-called ambassador at SAP who reports directly to the chief executive, Henning Kagermann.

Francisco Mingorance, a consultant with the Business Software Alliance, a trade group whose members include Microsoft, said, "If the Parliament decides not to have a directive, we'll respect that,"

Conservatives, liberals and socialists in the European Parliament are urging the European Commission to try to secure agreement on a broader patent policy before trying to tackle the thorny area of computer-related patents.

The European Union has been trying for many years to agree on a community patent policy covering all types of inventions, but has failed because some smaller countries insist that patents be translated into all the official languages of the group.

Source.

More in Tux Machines

Linux KPI-Based DRM Modules Now Working On FreeBSD 11

Thanks to work done by Hans Petter Selasky and others, this drm-next-kmod port is working on FreeBSD 11 stable. What's different with this package from the ports collection versus the ported-from-Linux Direct Rendering Modules found within the FreeBSD 11 kernel is that these DRM modules are using the linuxkpi interface. Read more

Fedora and Red Hat's Finances

GNOME: WebKit, Fleet Commander, Introducing deviced

  • On Compiling WebKit (now twice as fast!)
    Are you tired of waiting for ages to build large C++ projects like WebKit? Slow headers are generally the problem. Your C++ source code file #includes a few headers, all those headers #include more, and those headers #include more, and more, and more, and since it’s C++ a bunch of these headers contain lots of complex templates to slow down things even more. Not fun.
  • Fleet Commander is looking for a GSoC student to help us take over the world
    Fleet Commander has seen quite a lot of progress recently, of which I should blog about soon. For those unaware, Fleet Commander is an effort to make GNOME great for IT administrators in large deployments, allowing them to deploy desktop and application configuration profiles across hundreds of machines with ease through a web administration UI based on Cockpit. It is mostly implemented in Python.
  • Introducing deviced
    Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been heads down working on a new tool along with Patrick Griffis. The purpose of this tool is to make it easier to integrate IDEs and other tooling with GNU-based gadgets like phones, tablets, infotainment, and IoT devices. Years ago I was working on a GNOME-based home router with davidz which sadly we never finished. One thing that was obvious to me in that moment of time was that I’m not doing another large scale project until I had better tooling. That is Builder’s genesis, and device integration is what will make it truly useful to myself and others who love playing with GNU-friendly gadgets.

KDE: Usability & Productivity, AtCore , Krita

  • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 6
  • AtCore takes to the pi
    The Raspberry Pi3 is a small single board computer that costs around $35 (USD). It comes with a network port, wifi , bt , 4 usb ports , gpio pins , camera port , a display out, hdmi, a TRRS for analog A/V out. 1GB of ran and 4 ~1GHz armv8 cores Inside small SOC. Its storage is a microSd card they are a low cost and low power device. The Touchscreen kit is an 800×480 display that hooks to the Gpio for touch and dsi port for video. To hold our hardware is the standard touch screen enclosure that often comes with the screen if you buy it in a kit.
  • Look, new presets! Another Krita 4 development build!
    We’ve been focusing like crazy on the Krita 4 release. We managed to close some 150 bugs in the past month, and Krita 4 is getting stable enough for many people to use day in, day out. There’s still more to be done, of course! So we’ll continue fixing issues and applying polish for at least another four weeks. One of the things we’re doing as well is redesigning the set of default brush presets and brush tips that come with Krita. Brush tips are the little images one can paint with, and brush presets are the brushes you can select in the brush palette or brush popup. The combination of a tip, some settings and a smart bit of coding! Our old set was fine, but it was based on David Revoy‘s earliest Krita brush bundles, and for Krita 4 we are revamping the entire set. We’ve added many new options to the brushes since then! So, many artists are working together to create a good-looking, useful and interesting brushes for Krita 4.