The EPLA proposal for Software Patents
The Software Patent fight goes on
The FFII has identified the way for the patent industry to win software patents in Europe:
- Create a specialized court to impose the EPO "interpretation" of the European Patent Convention on EU member states (this is the Unitary Patent).
- Do not restart the software patent directive and push for a central patent court instead.
"The acrimonious debate over the proposed directive on computer-implemented inventions might never have arisen if the patent litigation system in Europe had been unified, thereby eliminating the possibility of disparate national rulings on the same patent matter."
— David Sant, former EPO lobbyist in Brussels
"The industry-based driving force behind the EPLA comes from the pro-software patent group as a way to ensuring that their software or potential software patents are fully enforceable across Europe."
“We must moreover continue to attempt to harmonise the practise of granting patents for computer-implemented inventions at the European level. This is to be attempted by a common European patent court system (EPLA) in which the member states can voluntarily participate. Thereby a unified procedure and legal certainty are achieved.”
"The large multinationals who are pushing for the European Patent Court may be more concerned about the substance of European patent law rather than the need for a single forum […] The treatment of software is certainly one area of law that seems to concern large multinationals in ITC industries a lot, but I suspect that they look at the European Patent Court more generally as a way of influencing patent policy without having to go through the more skeptical European Parliament."
— Jim Bessen, Research on Innovation
"Baumann added that the new court was not intended to "codify software patents ", but it was hoped it would provide better intellectual property protection for inventions with embedded software, such as mobile phones and satellite navigation systems."
— James Murray, IT Week
"The current situation shows why such talks are necessary – a central European patent court will help bring the certainty that, in a number of areas such as software and biotechnology, we currently do not have."
— Joff Wild, Intellectual Asset Management Magazine
"Applying the EPLA to software patents granted by the EPO would create a dangerous body of jurisprudence on an issue which was clearly discarded by the European Parliament and by European stakeholders one year ago."
"From a software-patents point of view, the EPLA would have far worse consequences than the rejected patentability directive would have had: not only would software patents become more enforceable in Europe but also would patent-holders in general be encouraged to litigate."
— Florian Mueller, software developer who founded the NoSoftwarePatents campaign
"All the European institutions and industry have worked hard and constructively on the issue of CII patents for some time. Europe’s high tech industry will support the efforts of the European institutions to find broader improvements to the European patent system that will particularly benefit the interests of smaller companies."
"According to the Parliament, the Community Patent has been mentioned by a number of MEPs as the appropriate legislative instrument to address the issue of software patentability."
"Does the Community Patent restart the debate over patents for computer-implemented inventions (software patents)? Why or why not? Pilch: It restarts the push for software patents, without a debate.[…] The Community Patent plan doesn't even mention the subject of software, although, make no mistake about it, software patentability is one of the main drivers of these plans."
— NoSoftwarePatents.com, Current situation
"The Council and a part of the Commission seeks to legalise software patents illegally granted by the European Patent Office (an extra-community institution outside of any control) through the implementation of the Community Patent […]."
"The IPR system also needs to be improved by the creation of a Community patent for innovative ICT companies to protect their inventions in the single market."
— European Commision, A Strategy for ICT R&D and Innovation in Europe: Raising the Game
"The purpose of the unified Patent Court is inter alia to reduce the variety of interpretations of patent scope and claim interpretation in Europe, especially at non-specialized courts."
"In July 2005, after several failed attempts to legalise software patents in Europe, the patent establishment changed its strategy. Instead of explicitly seeking to sanction the patentability of software, they are now seeking to create a central European patent court, which would establish and enforce patentability rules in their favor, without any possibility of correction by competing courts or democratically elected legislators."
"Now, currently, in a few cases in some very specific fields (biotech and IT) differences arise in how the national courts interprete the EPC. This can be solved either via a common court which would set EU (or EPOrg) wide case law, or by legislating those gray zones. However, the latest attempt to harmonise EU patent law regarding one of those grey zones (the CII directive) was the fiasco we all remember."