The Greens in the European Parliament tabled important amendments to the draft unitary patent regulation. They aim to bring the unitary patent under democratic control. See unitary-patent.eu for the details. They opened a piphone so you can call Members of Parliament free of charge. Highly recommended.
Today the FFII sent an open letter to The President of the European Parliament. See below or the pdf. See also our press release and the French translation: ACTA menace innovation et droits fondamentaux. ====
ACTA endangers innovation and fundamental rights
Open letter to The President of the European Parliament
28 June 2012
Dear Mr Schulz,
On 6 July 2005, the European Parliament almost unanimously rejected the software patents directive. The monopolisation of software ideas was a too serious threat to small and medium sized enterprises and innovation.
The European Parliament plenary session will discuss ACTA on the 3rd of July, followed by a plenary vote the next day. The biggest group in Parliament, the EPP, is still in favour of ACTA, and most committee votes were close. Proponents of ACTA are very active. David Martin, the Parliament’s rapporteur on ACTA, told that at first he just thought protecting intellectual property rights is good, he was inclined to be in favour of ACTA. Only after he looked closer, he became critical.
The International Trade committee adopted David Martin’s draft opinion which proposes to reject ACTA, with 19 to 12 votes. Two amendments proposing to give consent to ACTA were withdrawn. An amendment proposing to postpone the vote on ACTA until after the Court’s opinion was rejected with 19 to 12 votes as well. A huge victory for civil society, Internet freedom, access to medicine and knowledge, and innovative companies. But we are not there yet.
On March 1, EU Commissioner De Gucht used overstated counterfeiting numbers, and called them the “most conservative estimates”. Will he do this again today at 6 pm? On 1 March, De Gucht said: “The most conservative estimates of the size of the global counterfeiting and piracy industry put it at 250 billion US dollars a year.” This estimate is massively overstated. The numbers are based on OECD reports.
According to Marietje Schaake, member of the European Parliament’s International Trade committee (INTA), there is a rumor that there will be a request for a secret vote on ACTA. See her tweet. Who would have somehing to hide? A small majority of groups are against ACTA. Proponents of ACTA may hope that a secret ballot may dilute group discipline, with a report recommending adoption of ACTA as result.
First the INTA committee secretariat denied the existence of coordinators’ minutes.
According to sources in the Parliament, Trade Commissioner De Gucht invited himself to the Parliament’s International Trade committee (INTA). He will address the committee just before the vote on ACTA. The INTA committee will vote on ACTA on 21 June, at 10 am. De Gucht is expected to call upon the committee to propose to Parliament to wait until the European Court of Justice delivered its opinion on ACTA. The Court will marginally test ACTA.