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Disappointing. That's the exact same "party line" that Arlene McCarthy
was using last year.
See Ciaran O'Riordan's mail regarding the two key loopholes: namely, the
use of the terms "as such" and "technical effects". The FFII website, in
last September's news entries, has more details.
Unfortunately, it does look like those two textual loopholes will be used
to derail any questioner who isn't familiar with the intricate details of
the issue, and they really do obfuscate the issue quite effectively :(
Conall O'Brien writes:
> Below is the written statement from Mary Harney in response to the
> question (also below) Ciaran Cuffe asked.
>> ----- Forwarded message from ccuffe at oireachtas.ie -----
>> Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 10:28:20 +0100
> From: ccuffe at oireachtas.ie> To: conall at conall.net> Subject: PQ
>> Hi Conall,
>> Here is the answer to the parliamentary question which I put in on your behalf.
>> Ciaran Cuffe
>> Ciaran Cuffe TD
> Dun Laoghaire Green Party
> Justice, Equality and Law Reform Spokesperson
> Housing, Planning and Heritage Spokesperson
> Dail Eireann, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
>http://www.GreenParty.ie>http://www.CiaranCuffe.com> W 01 618 3082
> F 01 618 4341
>> To ask the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she
> proposes to allow the patenting of software implementations for computing; if
> her attention has been drawn to the difficulties that this may raise in the
> educational and other sectors; and if she will make a statement on the
> - Ciaran Cuffe.
>> * For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 19th May, 2004.
>> Ref No: 14674/04
>> R E P L Y
>> Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney);
>> It is important to note that computer programs "as such" are excluded from
> patentability by Member States' patent laws and the European Patent Convention
> (EPC) which applies to the operation of the European Patent Office (EPO).
>> However, computer implemented inventions may be patentable under certain
> conditions and many such patents have already been granted within the EU.
>> The position facing the Community is that the application of the case law and
> the administrative practice of Member States in this area is divergent. As a
> result, it is currently possible to patent a particular computer implemented
> invention in one Member State and not in another, with negative consequences for
> the efficient functioning of the Internal Market.
>> For this reason, the Commission brought forward, in 2002, a proposal for a
> Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the patentability of
> computer-implemented inventions, the aim of which was to rectify this situation
> and to make the conditions for patentability more transparent ? to give
> innovators and enterprises the ability to compete effectively in the single
>> In September, 2003, the European Parliament adopted a number of amendments to
> the proposal.
>> On 18th May, the Competitiveness Council reached political agreement on a common
> position, based on a proposal put forward by the Irish Presidency, which took
> account of discussions at EU Council Working Group, and the Committee of
> Permanent Representatives. The final text agreed took account of a number of
> amendments put forward by delegations to further clarify the conditions under
> which a computer implemented invention might be patented. It will now go back
> to Parliament for second reading, the next stage in the co-decision process.
>> I am satisfied that the agreement reached represents a good balance and will be
> beneficial for both innovators and users of computer implemented inventions
> throughout the Union.
>> I would mention that Article 6 of the agreed position provides that acts
> permitted under Articles 5 and 6 of Directive 91/250/EEC on the legal protection
> of computer programs by copyright, and, in particular, the provisions in respect
> of decompilation and interoperability are not affected by the rights to be
> conferred by the proposed Directive. The proposed Directive also makes clear
> that the provisions of Articles 81 and 82, which relate to competition rules,
> and, in particular, abuse of a dominant position, apply.
>> In addition, the text as agreed makes it explicit that a computer program as
> such cannot constitute a patentable invention, and that inventions involving
> computer programs, whether expressed as source code, object code or any other
> form, which implement business, mathematical or other methods and do not produce
> any technical effects beyond the normal physical interactions between a program
> and the computer, network or other programmable apparatus in which it is run
> shall not be patentable.
>> ----- End forwarded message -----
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