EU votes on patents law

6 Jul 2005

The European Parliament is to vote today on whether to approve the controversial Computer Implemented Inventions (CII) or so-called Patents Directive.

The legislation would mean a single patent would only need be filed in any EU country for it to be recognised throughout the entire EU; likewise, defending patents against attack could be done in one jurisdiction, not all 25.

The law has been subject to intense lobbying from both its supporters and opponents over the past two years. The no camp which includes small business groups, open source bodies, European economists and even Linux inventor Linus Torvalds, has argued that the law would stifle innovation and put the small inventor at risk.

Those in favour of the law have been characterised as big business interests but the Irish Software Association, which claims to represent both large and small software firms, is strongly in favour, as is ICT Ireland, the IBEC body representing the technology sector as a whole.

Kathryn Raleigh, director of ICT Ireland, said last week: “Within the high-tech sector, patents provide incentives for companies – large and small – to undertake research and innovation. Patents level the playing pitch for small companies competing against and doing business with a larger technology company by insuring their intellectual property is protected.”

By Brian Skelly