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Denmark: SW Patent Directive as B-Item Only on Monday
Friday, March 04 2005 @ 04:49 PM EST

When I woke up, the EU Commission was all set to push for the software patent directive as an A-item on Monday. Great, I thought. What does it take to kill this Computer Implemented Inventions Directive once and for all and make it stay dead?

Now, suddenly, I hear Denmark has voted to treat the software directive as a B-item only. Here's a translation by Kristoffer of the Danish story:

Denmark to block software patents.

The Parliament of Denmark is ready to halt the proposed directive on software patents that is currently on its way through the EU system.

Only hours ago a majority in the Parliament's sub commission on European matters put pressure on the Minister of Economic and Business Affairs Bendt Bendtsen to reopen the discussion on software patents when the EU Ministers meet on Monday.

Here, the directive on software patents is listed as an A-point implying that consensus on the subject has already been reached. Poland has twice before succeeded in getting the subject removed from the list, but has now said that it will proceed more cautiously at the next meeting.

Poland's role can now be taken over by Denmark.

It's not just a resolution. It's a binding decision to vote against the current proposal as an A-item (A is the rubber stamp variety), on Monday, and they will propose that it be handled as a B-item. That's a first. Others have voted against the directive, but to my knowledge this is the first country to call for it to be a B-item. In short, some are saying there may be a restart after all.

As puts it, Poland, which said it couldn't stand alone, isn't all alone any more.

Here is the FFII story on developments. It points out that the Netherlands can now be expected to side with Denmark too:

Arda Gerkens, a Dutch MP of the Socialistische Partij who supported the Dutch motion from yesterday and who earlier on introduced several related motions in the Dutch parliament, added:

"I am very happy to see Denmark taking this step. Thanks to the motion we adopted yesterday, the Netherlands will support this move."

This last is referring to events described in this Dutch story, which Groklaw's Tako translates roughly like this:

It's what some Dutch Members of Parliament had tried to do in The Netherlands last Thursday, but that motion failed because the government didn't want to "break open" a political issue that had already been agreed upon.

But another motion was passed that said that if somebody else would ask to handle the issue as a B-item, then the Dutch representatives in the Commission would either support that motion or at least not oppose it.

It seems now that the Danish will ask to handle the patent issue as a B-item some other countries, including The Netherlands, will not oppose it or maybe will even support it.

And Niels sent us this translation from the Danish of this news story:

If just The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and Spain back the Danish request, there will not be a qualified majority in favor of passing the direction without discussion.

"This is a victory for the democratic process in the European Union. Both in Denmark and the rest of Europe there have been a tremendous interest in this issue. IT-Political Association is ecstatic now that there is a very good chance that the all the citizens in Europe will have a chance to participate in the discussion of the directive," Ole Tange, board member in IT-Political Association says.

Honestly, this is more exciting than a tennis match.

UPDATE: Kristoffer has found another article, a portion of which he translates from the Danish for us like this:

Since several other countries have uttered their disproval of the directive, the chances of a new debate are considered good. . . .

"There is a real need for the Minister to fight for a new discussion of the directive.. . ." says IT-spokesman Morten Helveg Petersen (The Danish Social-Liberal Party) and continues "If we are not clear on crucial definitions and are unable to make sure that the patent directive ensures that software products can work together, then we really need to ask ourselves if it this is something we can support.". . .

"Hooray. That resolution is a relief," says Ole Tange, member of the board of IT-political association, which has opposed software patents for years.

"We are still generally against patents on software, but the EU parliament has put forward a proposal which more clearly defines what can and cannot be patented. It is a compromise we can live with", says Ole Tange.. . . "The proposal by the EU parliament makes clear that software which simply resides in an ordinary computer is not patentable. Software patents only cover software which - generally speaking - is part of a new type of machine. The proposal also establishes that open standards are not patentable - just as an ordinary socket outlet is not patentable, but is allowed to develop products for by many manufacturers."


Denmark: SW Patent Directive as B-Item Only on Monday | 161 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
OT: people and places around the world
Authored by: sandelaphon on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 05:00 PM EST
Because slugs aren't a part of your daily balanced diet.

I hate sigs!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections and other vital necessities
Authored by: sandelaphon on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 05:04 PM EST
...because it will actually kill you if that misplaced comma goes unnoticed.

I hate sigs!

[ Reply to This | # ]

O'gara attacks PJ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 05:09 PM EST
It's true if you want to know. Sorry for being off topic!!!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Denmark: SW Patent Directive as B-Item Only on Monday
Authored by: Sesostris III on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 05:10 PM EST
I must admit, although this is good news, I will only relax once I read
"Denmark blocks Software Patent Directive from being agreed as an
A-Item" on Groklaw on Monday evening!

If it is relegated to a B-Item, when would it be discussed? There and then, or
at a later meeting?

Sesostris III

[ Reply to This | # ]

Denmark: SW Patent Directive as B-Item Only on Monday
Authored by: fredex on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 05:11 PM EST

Honestly, this is more exciting than a tennis match.
The ole neck gets store watching the ball go back'n'forth that much, though!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Recent election
Authored by: Freespirit on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 05:12 PM EST
I live in Denmark.

One of the reasons I voted the way I did in our very recent election vas based
on the candidates stance on software patents. I actually abandoned my regular
party, the social democrats, because of their lukewarm stance on this topic.

Who knows, maybe enough votes vere placed this way, and enough noise made that
the polititians actually realised that poeple DO care about this issue.

Now lets kill this bill for real this time, you know, kill it so it does not pop
up again and again and....


[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 05:23 PM EST
will Microso ft shut down Navision and pull the research back to the States? or will they deliberately leave it open to bolster their claim that they weren't trying to force the Danes to nod this Patent directive through?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • So... - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 05:31 PM EST
    • So... - Authored by: Nick_UK on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 06:28 PM EST
    • You too, Mate - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 08 2005 @ 01:14 AM EST
  • Who cares... - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 02:01 AM EST
Oh wonderfull
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 05:31 PM EST
Oh wonderfull! But don't believe a word of it. I expect to have it passed as
aN "A" item. I smell something not right. I thought the Dutch were
pushing this forward.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is Microsoft bribing the commissioners?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 05:33 PM EST
A slanderous suggestion you might think.

However, given the EU bureaucrats' reputation and the trouble they've had
getting their accounts signed off (in the recent past they sacked the chief
accountant because she refused to sign off massive "anomalies" i.e.
loads of missing cash), I think we're entitled to ask just why the Commission
would be so determined to help Microsoft entrench its dominance?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Denmark: SW Patent Directive as B-Item Only on Monday
Authored by: niko on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 05:35 PM EST
It will be voted. We all know it.We just hope it wont happen.

Dintre sute de catarge care lasa malurile, cate oare le vor sparge vanturile,
valurile ...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Denmark: SW Patent Directive as B-Item Only on Monday
Authored by: jmc on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 05:52 PM EST

Honestly, this is more exciting than a tennis match.

A key difference might be that the loser of a tennis match is usually allowed to continue to play and possibly beat his opponent another day. But Sir Bill wants us to sit waiting for Windows boxes to reboot and get cleaned of viruses all day.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Help finding a judgement
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 06:08 PM EST

Apologies for the off-topic, but Groklaw has inspired me to look into another
legal case and I need some help finding a summary judgement.

I've signed up for pacer, but didn't have any luck finding it.

The information is:

Celestron wins summary judgment against Meade Instruments

Torrance, California, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- On February 28, 2003, the U.S.
District Court of the Central District of California entered its Order granting
Celestron's Motion for Summary Judgment that Celestron's NexStar GPS 8 and 11
products, NexStar 5, 5i, 8 and 8i Products, NexStar GT 4, 60, 80, and 114
products do not literally infringe Meade Instrument's U.S. Patent No. 6,304,376
related to Meade's ETX/Autostar telescope technology.

In the Order, the District Court also Denied Meade's motion for summary judgment
of infringement that Celestron's products listed above infringe on Meade's U.S.
Patent No. 6,304,376 related to Meade's ETX/Autostar telescope technology.

With this much information (date, court, parties) it should be as easy as
falling off a log, but an hour on pacer suggests that it's harder than I thought

Any advice on how to find this from those pacer experts out there?


[ Reply to This | # ]

What does it take ...
Authored by: Jude on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 06:20 PM EST kill this Computer Implemented Inventions Directive once and for all and
make it stay dead?

Does anybody have a D&D monster manual? There might be some useful ideas in
the section on "Undead monsters" (IE, vampires, zombies, etc).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Wrong, wrong, wrong PJ
Authored by: Chris Lingard on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 06:34 PM EST

Sorry to disagree with your reporting but I have posted this twice, and send you an email with the link

It is not on as an A item, and you cannot vote against an A item

The committee is waiting for "orders" from the Commission.

The president of the Commission did not attend the JURI invite. He sent the Commissioner responsible for internal affairs, Charley McCreevy instead; who blamed the Council.

Were into dirty politics here, where each side want to come out as clean. But if it goes as a B item then discussion and a vote must take place. But the Council and the Commission need to find a face saving formulae.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Interesting domino effect
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 04 2005 @ 06:39 PM EST
I, as a staff member of Vrijschrift who represents FFII in The Netherlands, have
virtually been at the centre of this thing.

What happened that there was a debate tuesday in the Dutch Parliament with
Minister Brinkhorst and Secretary of State van Gennip. It turned out they really
did not want to blow up the A-item, because they feared like a procedural crises
would occure.

They seemed convinced that if *this* A-item was turned into a B-item, any
country can do that trick *any time* and therefore the whole European lawmaking
process would come to a stall. This debate was what's called an AO, general
debate. A non-plenary debate where no voting can take place.

Since the statements of the Minister and State Secretary were unsatisfactory, a
VAO was held. That's a plenary debate where motions can be filed and voted upon
later the same day. Since we have very close contacts with for example MP Arda
Gerkens, we were able to suggest some motions to her.

One of the motions we suggested, was to ask for explicit support for the case
another member state would ask for a B-item. That was a very good decision

What happened during the plenary debate was that we lost the support of D66, the
liberal party of Brinkhorst for both motions Gerkens filed -- the one asking for
a B-item and the one asking for support for a B-item from another member state.

However, during the few hours between the actual debate and the vote, we were
able to get the support of D66 for the motion asking for support, because we
realised there was a line in the procedure nobody seems to have noticed. I am
referring to the Council's rules of procedure, article 3.8:

"However, an A item shall be withdrawn from the agenda, unless the Council
decides otherwise, if a position on an A item might lead to further discussion
thereof or if a member of the Council or the Commission so requests."

An A-item can be withdrawn from the agenda "unless the Council decides
otherwise". That was a crucial statement, because that meant that the
assumption of D66 and the government that blocking *this* A-item would mean a
floodgate of blocking of all kinds of A-items was *not true*.

That's what pulled D66 over the line to support the motion by Gerkens asking the
government to support any other member state that might ask for a B-item. And if
you want a B-item, you will first have to get the A-item from the agenda and
that's why this article applies.

So, we had *a* motion in the Dutch parliament yesterday. Not the main price, but
still, an important signal, because of the message that came along with it.

And, so I heard, MP Gerkens informed her Danish colleageas about this and I am
sure the Dutch motion has helped pulling the Danish over the line and actually
ask for a B-item.

And that's what happened today. As far as I understood, the Danish decision is
binding for the Danish minister, so he has no other choice then to ask for a
B-item and request the A-item to be removed from the agenda.

If I am not mistaken, the Council cannot oppose the removal of *this* A-item
from the agenda, because there's another rule that says that any member state
can remove an item of the agenda that has not been put onto the agenda at least
2 weeks before. And I think it has only been put on the agenda this week, so
removal of the A-item from the agenda should be no problem.

But, you never know for sure in this dossier. We have seen before that virtually
anything can happen.

-- Arend Lammertink --

[ Reply to This | # ]

The best you can expect from a paralegal.
Authored by: SilverWave on Saturday, March 05 2005 @ 03:10 AM EST




Yes we'll take the paralegal.

"They [each] put in one hour of work,
but because they share the end results
they get nine hours... for free"

Firstmonday 98 interview with Linus Torvalds

[ Reply to This | # ]

Don't celebrate too soon
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 05 2005 @ 08:40 AM EST
This is all very nice, but people here seem to be underestimating the EU's
capacity for dishonest manoeuvres.

This isn't some kind of democracy, you know. It's a corrupt bureaucracy. If you
doubt that, you haven't been paying attention to much European news.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Hmmm...I wonder how Bill Gates feels now?
Authored by: Kelledin on Saturday, March 05 2005 @ 08:31 PM EST

Wasn't Denmark the country BillG tried to bully into capitulation over this very issue? I wonder if that had anything to do with Denmark's current position...

...and I'm guessing BillG is wondering the same thing. Probably keeps him up at night, wondering if the directive might have actually passed if not for his little faux pas. ;-)

<Lionel Hutz> I'll be defending...The SCO Group!!!??? Even if I lose, I'll be famous!

[ Reply to This | # ]

What will be the Commissions next move?
Authored by: Eric Damron on Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 05:30 PM EST
The Commission has made it clear that they don't care about the opinions of
others. This is all about the money not about fairness or democracy. So, does
this move force the issue? If not then Microsoft's shills will just put it in
as an A line item anyway.

Their behavior should make it very obvious to the World just how far
monopolistic corporations such as Microsoft will go to dominate. They even
corrupt organizations that are suppose to be a balancing force to protect the

When governments stop representing the people's interests the people lose the
ability to effect change by working with the system. The consequences can be

The EU needs to ferret out every corporate shill or lose whatever shred of
credibility they still have.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Authored by: Eagle on Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 07:04 PM EST already up and running!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Denmark: SW Patent Directive as B-Item Only on Monday
Authored by: elgaard on Sunday, March 06 2005 @ 07:30 PM EST

> And Niels sent us this translation from the Danish of this
>news story:

Actually it is not a translation.
We ( wrote it in english.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Tak Danmark
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 03:47 AM EST
Thank God there is at least one European country where a Parliament's will
cannot be ignored by its government.

[ Reply to This | # ]

EU software directive has passed as A-item!
Authored by: hagge on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 06:29 AM EST tells the story that -- despite the efforts of the Danish minister --
the directive passed as an A-item at the council meeting this morning! :-(((

[ Reply to This | # ]

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