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Archived updates for Thursday, March 17, 2005

Commission Sends MEPs Position Statement on Software Patentability Directive

On March 14, 2004, the European Commission sent the following remarks to the European Parliament in connection with the position of the "common position" of the European Council adopted on March 4 regarding the proposed directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions:

. . . The Council, acting by qualified majority, has adopted a common position
which incorporates the substance of some 25 of Parliament’s amendments at first

. . . In general, the Commission believes that the common position strikes an acceptable balance between the interests of right holders and those of competitors and consumers (including in the open source community). This balance is further
safeguarded by the new requirements in Article 7 for the Commission to monitor the impact of computer-implemented inventions in particular on small and medium-sized enterprises and on the open source community.

. . . A failure to adopt a directive would prevent Community institutions from exercising control in this strategic area of the European economy, which would thus remain within the remit only of national patent offices and courts and the European Patent Office in Munich. . .


The Commission considers that Council’s common position maintains the balance aimed for in the original proposal and it can, therefore, accept it. In particular, the current wording provides for sufficient incentives to innovation in this field and maintains the freedom to commercialise new products while allowing right holders to enforce their rights in an effective yet proportionate way against infringers. The fact of harmonisation at a Community level ensures that the enforcement of these rights is consistent across the European Union and therefore facilitates the efficient functioning of the Single Market.

The Commission invites the Parliament to engage constructively in further inter-institutional dialogue so as to ensure adoption of a directive which meets these objectives and is ready to engage further with both Parliament and Council on key issues concerning the directive, notably in the light of the Commission's commitments to the promotion of interoperability.

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