EuroLinux Calls for European Governments to Take Control of the European Patent Office or Leave the European Patent Convention

The EuroLinux petition, which has received support from over 50,000 European citizens and 200 companies, is calling for European governments to take control of the European Patent Office or leave the European Patent Convention. The petition argues that an extension of the patent system to software would harm innovation and competition in the European software industry. The EuroLinux petition was taken into account by the European Parliament and the European Commission, which is now researching the economic impact of software patents and organizing a consultation. However, the European Patent Office (EPO) council of administration plans to legalize software patents this week in Munich, during the ongoing revision conference of the Munich Convention. The vast majority of European governments have given their official representatives strict instructions to postpone any decision on software patents and wait for the end of the ongoing consultation launched by the European Commission. However, it is not certain that this majority will be sufficient to block the plans of the EPO council of administration. The voting procedure designed by the council of administration of the EPO last September requires a 2/3 majority to postpone this decision. A coalition of small countries and countries which are not member of the European Union, together with a weak minority of 2 EU member countries, may be sufficient to force the rest of Europe to legalize software patents.