2004-04-12 Demo in Berlin reported to have changed German Government's mind in favor of Swpat critics

Warning: what the German justice ministry promised and what not

Hucko did say that Germany would oppose the Council's rush for an undiscussed decision. This is good news, given that german opposition seemed to have been withdrawn before. However it does not mean that the German government is against program claims or against any other of the scandalous provisions of the Council document. Nor does it mean that the German government will spend great efforts to pull other governments on its side. It means only that there are now more chances to have the Council decision postponed, not more and not less.

Rough Translation of Heise news report

Wednesday evening Elmar Hucko, ministerial director at the German Ministry of Justice, announced surprisingly on a demonstration of the FFII, that the german government will vote against the controversial software patent directive of the council of the Europan Union. Before, a message was circulating, that Berlin paved the way for nodding off the councils proposal.

Under loud applause of the approximately 150 demonstrants in front of the german ministry of justice in Berlin, Hucko puts straight, that "regarding the contents, we are next to your position."

At the same time, Hucko excoriated the current allocation practice of the European Patent Office in the domain of the controversial "computer-implemented invention". "Not all of these patents should have been granted", he pointed out.

"Under no circumstances we want the American situation in Europe", Hucko explained in a view to the patent system in the USA. A patent should stay a "reward for an earnest invention" and must not be abused to "knock down on competition".

Christian Cornelssen of the FFII pointed out possible consequences of the guideline, which makes it not necessary anymore to execute a program in order to infringe on a given patent. This would "not only be fatal for open source" but also for many successful websites. The clause in article 52 of the European Patent Convention, which stated that a program "as such" must not fall under governmental monopoly protection, would then finally become void.

Markus Beckedahl, Member of the "Gruene Jugend" reminded of the fact that "three-quarters of the 30,000 illegaly issued patents in Europe do not originate from European companies" and thus the use for the European industry is more than questionable. Finally Robert Leisner of attac condemned software patents, since they would represent nothing else then "another piece in the mosaic towards aggreviated copyrights". Further demonstrations[1] took place in Munich, Lisbon and Vienna yesterday. On today's Thursday, more events in Linz, Copenhagen and Madrid follow.

( Stefan Krempl )/( tol /c't)


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