Newer News: 2004-05-18: Council040518En - The debate can be followed by the public in a room in the council
2004-05-14 Software Patent Directive no longer a Consensus Item in Council
According to the documents from the agenda of the competitiveness council meeting, software patents are now a B-Item (i.e. an item requiring discussion by the ministers) and the next to last item on the agenda of a public session on tuesday 2004-05-18 (see document 4):
This is an important change compared to the press briefing released on Friday morning
which said that the Irish presidency proposal would be adopted "without discussion":
- Proposal for a Directive on the Patentability of Computer Implemented Inventions (JT) The Council is expected to adopt without discussion, on the basis of an Irish Presidency compromise text supported by the Commission, a political agreement on the proposed Directive on the Patentability of Computer Implemented Inventions. The compromise text includes 21 amendments proposed by the European Parliament at its first reading in September 2003 but restores the overall balance between the interests of the rights holders and other parties (competitors and consumers) struck by the original Commission proposal presented in February 2002. [...]
The EU media briefing also tries very hard to play the play up the Irish draft as a 'compromise' position.
But it's clear from this report from Paul Meller that by the time of the press conference this afternoon journalists were obviously well enough briefed that the EU spokesman had to confirm everything FFII had said: http://www.itworld.com/Man/2687/040514eupatents/
The national positions won't finally be clear until we hear what actually gets said on Tuesday, but there are signs that there may be an increasing number of ministers with concerns about the text, and a very real possibility that a number of countries may seek a delay to give time to
- achieve more unity;
- investigate further the concerns about
- freedom of publication
- scope of what is and what is not 'technical';
- produce a text more likely to pass the European Parliament.
On the other hand, as best we know, some countries (IE, UK, SE) are likely to still continue pushing all-out for the Presidency text.