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EU Unveils 'Tougher' Software Patent Proposal

From: Seth Johnson <seth.johnson@realmeasures.dyndns.org>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 16:10:02 -0500
Message-ID: <3C75622A.FEBF911A@RealMeasures.dyndns.org>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org

(Forwarded from Interesting People list,
farber@cis.upenn.edu)

-------- Original Message --------
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 21:03:55 -0500
From: Dave Farber <dave@farber.net>


------ Forwarded Message
From: Ari Ollikainen <Ari@OLTECO.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 12:26:25 -0800
To: farber@cis.upenn.edu
Subject: EU Unveils 'Tougher' Software Patent Proposal

EU Unveils 'Tougher' Software Patent Proposal
Wed Feb 20,12:42 PM ET

By David Lawsky
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=581&u=/nm/20020220/tc_
nm/tech_eu_software_dc_3

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission (news - web
sites) on Wednesday unveiled a new approach to software
patents, which a top Commission official said would draw
U.S. criticism as it would mean tougher criteria in Europe
to grant a patent.

The proposal, which would standardize a variety of software
patent rules across the 15-member bloc, requires that
software contain new ideas to qualify for patent protection.

Also, patents would apply only when software is loaded in a
machine or operating system, not when it merely sits on a
shelf.

Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, whose Internal Markets group
oversaw the new proposal, said the proposal differs from the
U.S. approach, which permits patents for software
independent of machines and does not necessarily require
fresh innovation.

"We will take American complaints on the chin," he
predicted.

[ snip ]

The Parliament and EU member states must agree on the final
wording before it can take effect.

An official for the Business Software Association's Brussels
office expressed dismay at the proposal.

"It departs from what we had hoped to see," said Francisco
Mingorance, director of European Public Policy for the
U.S.-based association, to which Microsoft Corp is a heavy
contributor. He said that the proposal would increase the
costs to software firms seeking to protect intellectual
property.

Microsoft, which makes the operating system software used on
nearly all personal computers and dominates the market for
PC word processors, had no immediate comment on the
proposal.

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        OLTECO                    Ari Ollikainen
        P.O. BOX 20088            Networking Architecture
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