Everything comes to an end, and so it seems for the long battled software patents issue in EU. The European Parliament votes in October (11.-12) about European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA), which could open doors wide open for software patents, too. Even if you don’t think that your MEP has an ear for you, think of sending an email telling how you see software patents threat e-learning in Europe.
This e-mail campaign (see wiki)
is continuation for the petition that we asked you to sign last Spring
Thanks to you, over 500 concerned teachers, learners, parents,
researchers, decision-makers, e-learning practitioners and developers
signed it. The petition was sent
to the Commission among with the consultation questionnaire (see the Patent
Little help it did, but at least it served to raise awareness among
e-learning practitioners about how software patents would also effect
the field of e-learning. Then came along Blackboad
with its patent claims, which was a great demonstration in
practice about the absurdity of how patent law works. Now, the forces
have spoken and the Commission has sided itself with EPLA, which the
Commissionaire outlined to the European Parliament earlier this week.
This, I believe, would take the patent absurdity into a ever higher
level in Europe, too!
The problem that we face now is that after the defeat of the
previous directive on Computer Implemented Innovations, no proper
proposal has materialised to tackle the issues of software patents in
particular. Besides, there is the long dragging issue of EU-wide
patents in general, which waits to be addressed.
The upcoming vote on European Patent Litigation Agreement proposes
to tackle the latter issue. However, many people are afraid that at the
same go it would also bring the European Patent Office’s (EPO) practice
to allow software patents within EU in effect. Namely, EPLA would grant
the establishment of a new European Patent Court who would deal with
patent litigation in EU. Interestingly enough, the judges of this court
would be hand-picked by EPO! Many people think that this stinks; how
could a same body be responsible for granting patents and appointing
judges who litigate them? Where is the neutrality in this!?
So take a minute and write to your MEP about this! Most importantly,
Members in the following parliamentary groups, EPP-ED
and ALDE, are to target, as they are very favourable for the case.
See more details and hints (names of MEPs, what to say, etc) on the wiki