-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: Website Mail Comment - software patents
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 13:06:51 +0200
From: DE ROSSA Proinsias <pderossa at europarl.eu.int>
To: Bernhard Rohrer <graylion at sm-wg.net>
Dear Mr Rohrer,
Thank you for your recent email on software patents. Please excuse the
delay in replying to you.
As you are probably aware, the European Parliament vetoed the
Commission's proposal for a directive on computer-implemented
inventions, as amended by the Council of Ministers in May, by an
overwhelming majority on 6 July. It was clear that the Council and the
Commission were unwilling to go along with the compromise amendments
drafted by the Rapporteur, Michel Rocard (Socialists-France).
The EP's press service report of the debate and vote is available at
I enclose a link to the statement I issued following the vote.
I'm also enclosing a link to the contribution I made when the proposal
was being debated in the EP at first reading in September 2003.
In light of the EP's vote and following up my statement, I have now
tabled a question (below) to the Commission on some of the patents that
have been granted by the European Patents Office, which would appear to
contravene the European Patent Convention prohibition on the granting of
patents for 'programs for computers' (art.52 of European Patent
Convention). The EPO is not an EU body but an entirely independent
inter-governmental organisation in which the Commission participates as
an observer on behalf of the EU. In 2000, the Commission did challenge
another patent granted by the EPO on the grounds that they conflicted
with European legislation on biotechnological inventions which had been
incorporated into EPO regulations. While this may not be a strict
precedent, I do think the issue should be raised.
I will forward the Commission's reply to you.
Please do not hesitate to contact me further on this issue.
With best wishes,
Proinsias De Rossa
Written question by Proinsias De Rossa MEP to the Commission
Subject - European Patent Office and software patents
On 6th July 2005, the European Parliament by an overwhelming majority
vetoed the Commission's proposal, as amended by the Council's common
position, for a Directive on the 'patentability of computer-implemented
inventions' - COM(2002)92 final.
The European Patent Office (EPO) is an autonomous inter-governmental
organisation made up of 31 European countries and governed by the
European Patent Convention (EPC) and its associated implementing
regulation, and is not an agency of the European Union.
Since the late 1990s the European Community participates in EPO
Administrative Council in an observer capacity.
In answering European Parliament question E-0671/00, the Commission said
in April 2000 that the European Patent Convention's implementing
regulations to the EPC were amended in 1999 to take account of Directive
98/44/EEC on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions. It
revealed that in response to the controversy surrounding European patent
EP0695351, it had written to the EPO to express its concern about the
granting of this patent and to seek a swift amendment to the patent. It
added that it would consider further action including the possibility of
the Commission or the Community formally opposing the patent before the
Article 52 of the EPC lists several categories of innovation that cannot
be described as 'inventions', including 'programs for computers',
'mathematical methods', 'schemes, rules and methods for performing
Does the Commission believe that some of the patents granted by the EPO,
such as EP0927945 (a method for simplified ordering of articles via the
Internet); EP0803105 (a network-based sales system); EP0738446
(computer-based method and system for ordering services) are fully
compatible with Article 52 of the EPC?
In view of the decisive European Parliament vote on 6 July against the
proposed directive on the patentability of computer-implemented
inventions, and Article 52 of the EPO, will the Commission now contact
the EPO to express its concern about some of the patents granted by the
EPO, as described above, similar to its response to the granting of
patent EP0695351? If not, why not?
How many other EPO patents has the Commission expressed concerns about
to the EPO over the past five years, and on what grounds?
From: Bernhard Rohrer [mailto:graylion at sm-wg.net]
Sent: 08 March 2005 12:05
To: DE ROSSA Proinsias
Cc: head_office at labour.ie
Subject: Website Mail Comment - software patents
Message for Proinsias De Rossa
I am writing to you as my MEP.
I am a German national living in Dublin 3 and would like to ask you to
do your utmost to stop the software patent directive which has been
pushed through by all sorts of weird procedural dodges and in clear
violation of the wishes of the parliament. It will be a major desaster
for small business, innovation and the EU, as some multinational
companies control all intellectual property on software. Did you know
that Micsosoft have tried to register a software patent on the operator
Please do averything you can to stop that. Not only because it will be a
desaster for business in the EU but also because this IMO is a watershed
for democracy in the EU.
30 Marino Green
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