Tuesday, June 21, 2005

EU PARLIMENT WATERS-DOWN ANTI SOFTWARE PATENT PROVISIONS: (Reuters) The Parliment's legal affairs committee agreed 16 to 10 to a 'patentability of computer-implemented inventions' bill, which goes to the full parliament in July.

But the bill's sponsor in the legislature, French socialist Michel Rocard, suffered a string of defeats as key changes were made to his text.

Rocard wanted a narrow definition of what sort of inventions could be patented, insisting that only a programmable piece of hardware could be covered, such as ABS brakes on a car or an insulin pump.

Data processing and other inventions that are more pure software based should be excluded.
"Software is nothing more than a collection of mathematical formulae," the former French prime minister told a packed committee room.

But changes won by center-right and liberal opponents pushed the bill closer to a version adopted by the EU's 25 member states, which chose a far wider scope for patenting.

"It was a mixed result but it's clear that Rocard did not have a majority, and he lost many important compromises," center-right member of the European Parliament, Piia-Noora Kauppi, said afterward.

Rocard, who declined to comment after the vote, also failed to change the name of the bill to 'patentability of computer controlled inventions', a bid to focus patenting on hardware and leave out allied software.

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