European software patents to cause another stir in Brussels


European software patents to cause another stir in Brussels

Antony Savvas

The thorny subject of European-wide software patents is expected to re-surface this week.

The European Commission’s internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy is scheduled to make a speech in Brussels to promote the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA).

The Commission was stung when European Parliament MEPs rejected European-wide software patents last year. It has now come back with the EPLA.

The EPLA faces a European Parliament vote in mid-October, and mainly left of centre political groupings say they will oppose it.

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure also opposes the EPLA.

FFII president Pieter Hintjens said, “We have had enough of hidden agenda politics, it is time for the commissioner to deliver some facts. The EPLA means higher costs for small businesses, and increased litigation risks. More US-style litigation is not the solution.”

McCreevy says the EPLA will help avoid legal disputes over software development, but critics claim large firms will use it to aid legal action to protect their growing patent portfolios.

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