European Parliament says no to software patents

Strasbourg, 6 July 2005. The European Parliament today decided by a large majority to reject the software patents directive. This rejection was the logical answer to the Commission’s refusal to restart the legislative process in February and the Council’s unwillingness to engage in any kind of dialogue with the Parliament. The FFII congratulates the European Parliament on its clear “no” to bad legislative proposals and procedures.

This is a great victory for those who have campaigned to ensure that European innovation and competitiveness is protected from the threat of software and business process patents. It marks the end of this attempt by the European Commission to codify into law the US-style practice of the European Patent Office. We believe that the Parliament’s work, in particular the 21 compromise amendments, provides a good basis on which future legislative projects can build.

Rejection provides breathing space for new initiatives based on all the knowledge gained during the last five years. All institutions are now fully aware of the concerns of all stakeholders. However, the fact that the Council Common Position needs 21 amendments in order to be transformed into a coherent piece of legislation indicates that the text is simply not ready to enter the Conciliation between Parliament, Commission and Council. We hope the Commission and Council will at least respond to the concerns raised by Parliament the next time, in order to avoid this sort of backlash in the future.

Jonas Maebe, FFII Board Member, comments on the outcome of today’s vote:

  • This result clearly shows that thorough analysis, genuinely concerned citizens and factual information have more impact than free ice-cream, boatloads of hired lobbyists and outsourcing threats. I hope this turn of events can give people new faith in the European decision making process. I also hope that it will encourage the Council and Commission to model after the European Parliament in terms of transparency and the ability of stakeholders to participate in the decision-making process irrespective of their size.

The FFII wishes to thank all those people who have taken the time to contact their representatives. We also thank the numerous volunteers who have so generously given their time and energy. This is your victory as well as the Parliament’s.

Background Information

Contact Information

Hartmut Pilch and Holger Blasum
FFII Munich Office
info at

Rufus Pollock
rufus.pollock at

Jonas Maebe
jmaebe at

Dieter Van Uytvanck
dietvu at

About FFII

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) is a non-profit association registered in several European countries, which is dedicated to the spread of data processing literacy. The FFII supports the development of public information goods based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 600 members, 3,000 companies and 90,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing. The FFII maintains offices in Munich and Brussels and national supporter groups in most European countries.

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