FFII opposes the third attempt to impose software patents in Europe via the Unitary Patent Court (UPC). After UK’s departure, FFII oppose any “quick fix” of the project, like simply replacing UK by Italy. The UPC cannot be “fixed”, as its design is a international parallel court system outside the structures of the European Union, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) and the European Parliament. You can find below a copy of FFII’s answer to the European Commission’s public consultation on the “IP action plan”. Introduction
Dear Members of the European Commission,
FFII welcome the opportunity to comment on this public consultation about the “IP action plan”.
A new Open Source Strategy applies a concept of equal treatment:
The Commission will ensure a level playing field to open source software when procuring new software solutions. This means that open source solutions and proprietary solutions will be assessed on an equal basis, being both evaluated on the basis of total cost of ownership, including exit costs. What is apparently the advantage of Open Source software is that you get the source code disclosed and enjoy the rights to build upon it. The argument of total costs of ownership is completely unrelated and does not even consider the advantages of the mentioned openness characteristics. A decision based on “total costs of ownership” actually implies that the Commission does not care at all to promote Open Source.
Today the EU declassified a two year old mandate of the member states to the European Commission to negotiate the services agreement TiSA. These mandates are drafted by the European Commission and approved by the member states in the European Council and authorise the European Commission to negotiate with third countries. The declassification shows that data flows are among the negotiated subject matters, a controversial item in a post-Snowden world. The agreement shall contain new or enhanced regulatory disciplines as compared to
GATS based on proposals by the parties. To that end, the negotiations should aim at including inter alia regulatory disciplines concerning transparency, domestic regulation, state-owned enterprises, telecommunication services, computer related services, e-commerce, cross-border data transfers, financial services, postal and courier services, international maritime transport services, government procurement for services and subsidies.
The European Commission published a textual proposal for the TTIP talks that includes the H-Word. Previously the European Commission had argued that (legal) harmonisation was not among the objective of the agreement: “Given the efficiency of their respective systems, the intention is not to strive towards harmonisation, but to identify a number of specific issues where divergences will be addressed.” We mocked this on the FFII ACTA blog. In the Commission’s tabled text proposal it reads:
When a regulatory exchange has been initiated pursuant to Article 9 with regard
to a planned or existing regulatory act at central level, a Party may propose to the
other Party a joint examination of possible means to promote regulatory
compatibility, including through the following methods:
a) Mutual recognition of equivalence of regulatory acts, in full or in part, based on evidence that the relevant regulatory acts achieve equivalent outcomes as regards the fulfilment of the public policy goals pursued by both Parties;
b) Harmonisation of regulatory acts, or of their essential elements, through:
i.Application of existing international instruments or, if relevant instruments do not exist, cooperation between the Parties to promote the development of a new international instrument;
ii. Approximation of rules and procedures on a bilateral basis or
c) Simplification of regulatory acts in line with shared legal or administrative
principles and guidelines.
Eva Kaili (S&D) from Greece asks the European Commission (under rule 130):
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and potential areas of conflict with the Lisbon Treaty
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (hereinafter TTIP) is a comprehensive free trade and investment agreement, which is currently being negotiated — behind closed doors — between the European Union and the US. In particular, all TTIP negotiations are swathed in secrecy, since the Commission is imposing the most stringent restrictions on the more important documents. In response to great pressure from MEPs, the Commission has stated that Member States and selected MEPs — those who handle the relevant issues — may have some access to the EU negotiating documents, but only in designated reading (reading rooms), and the photocopying or photographing of documents will not be permitted. The Court of Justice has already issued two important decisions — on 26 June 2014 and 3 July 2014 — essentially criticising the lack of transparency and information in the negotiations. Under Article 218 of the EU Treaty (Treaty of Lisbon) and on the basis of the precautionary principle, will the Commission say:
(a) Is the procedure being adopted in this instance in accordance with Article 218 TEU?
As we reported earlier, tomorrow, Tuesday 24 January 2012, around 16.30 Paris time, the European Parliament Committee on Development will hold an exchange of views on ACTA. Today, the FFII sent the committee a letter. (pdf version)
Dear Members of the Committee on Development,
We are writing to express our concerns with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Below we will present points which we believe are essential for a proper assessment of ACTA’s impact on development. 1.
Today the FFII sent a letter to the European Parliament about the EP legal service’s opinion on ACTA. (pfd version)
Brussels, 23 January 2012 — The European Parliament’s legal service consistently overlooks known issues with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), according to the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). In the coming months the European Parliament will have to decide whether to give consent to ACTA or not. In preparation, the Parliament’s International Trade and Legal Affairs committees asked the Parliament’s legal service an opinion on ACTA. The FFII compared the legal service’s opinion with multiple academic opinions on ACTA and some civil society analyses.
Tuesday 24 January 2012, around 16.30 CET, the European Parliament Committee on Development will hold an exchange of views on ACTA. The Committee’s draft opinion is available here. Update: The Development committee may already vote on the draft opinion on February 29th. Update: see our letter to the committee. I think it is a disgusting draft, a scandal.
On 20 December 2011, the European Parliament Legal Affairs committee discussed ACTA. Video, debate starts at 11.31
According to MEP Marielle Gallo, rapporteur for ACTA, ACTA is compatible with the acquis, the current EU laws. In her draft opinion, which she will launch in January, she will try to respond to all criticism raised with respect to and against ACTA. She said that her dear colleagues should be aware that ACTA is compatible with the Community acquis. She referred to art 6 ACTA, which is a provision to be applied horizontally and which guaranties against all abuse.
We welcome the decision to release the European Parliament legal service’s opinion on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). We have compared the legal service’s opinion with multiple academic opinions on ACTA and some civil society analyses. (pdf version)
We found that many issues pointed out by academic opinions and the study commissioned by the EP International Trade committee (INTA) are not addressed by the legal service’s opinion. The legal service fails to see major issues with damages, injunctions and provisional, border and criminal measures.
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