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March 7, 2005
European Council Gives Software Patents an "A"
It looks like the European Council today "fixed" the "problem" with the multiple rebooting of discussion regarding EU software patents by breaking the rules for discussion. It just passed the EU software patent directive as an A-Item despite the requests for a B-Item from Denmark, Poland, Portugal and others.
According to ZDNet, Florian Mueller of NoSoftwarePatents.com says the Council claims the directive is being adopted to "ensure that the Council adheres to its processes and to avoid creating problems for other directives."
"We are adopting the position for institutional reasons so as not to create a precedent which might have a consequence of creating future delays in other processes," the minister said, according to Mueller.
Ah ha!...uhm, no, actually, I don't get it.
The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure has more detail:
- Cyprus submitted a written declaration at the start of the Council session
- Poland, Denmark, Portugal and others (not specified) asked for a B item (discussion point)
- The Luxembourg presidency claimed this was not possible due to procedural reasons, and that this would have undermined the whole process -> it would stay on the list of A-items
- Luxembourg then gave a long statement regarding how the EP still gets a chance in second reading, the importance of avoiding legal uncertainty etc.
- Denmark said it was disappointed about this, but accepted and submitted a written declaration
- Later on, the list of A items was accepted by the Council
Oh, I...no, wait. Still doesn't make any sense.
Groklaw , meanwhile, has piece admitting from the get-go that the situation is nigh-impossible to understand: "Don't ask me to explain it, because I can't."
One thing seems clear, however. The EU Parliament has the ball (again). It has 3 months to accept or amend the decision. And that means it's MEP-writing time. Warns Mueller, "The hurdle is very high as we need an absolute majority of every member of parliament, which means 367 MEPs for every amendment to the directive."
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