July 5, 2005

Patent lobby MEPs calling for rejection of the directive

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Brussels, 5 July 2005. At a press conference this morning at 9:00, the coordinator of the European People’s Party group in the Legal Affairs Committee explained that he is putting together a majority of MEPs who will vote for a rejection of the Council’s “Common Position” right at the beginning of tomorrow’s vote, even before any amendments are voted on. Lehne also explained that there is no longer a majority in the Council for the “Common Position”.

The announcement comes at a time where similar calls have been launched by the large companies with big patent departments and big lobbying budgets who have, during the last months, been the main supporters in Lehne’s campaign in favor of the “Common Position”.

Other patent lobby MEPs, such as the Liberal group’s legal affairs spokesman Toine Manders from the Netherlands, have also started to call for rejection of the Directive.

Manders explains his motives as follows: “A chaos is threatening … in Strasbourg. Because of the large number of amendments, the directive could shoot in all kinds of directions like a firecracker and we want to prevent this.”

Lehne called for withdrawal of the directive already in February, giving as a reason that the Parliament was unlikely to agree to a favorable (pro-patent) directive at this stage.

The move by Manders and Lehne is coming at a time where a majority of 367 votes for 21 cross-party amendments is in sight. These amendments have garnered support from large groups of MEPs in the camp of Lehne and Manders, alongside with nearly total support among all other parties.

The Parliament now still has the chance to vote for a coherent counter-position to the Council and Commission. CEA-PME (including FFII) has called on MEPs to vote for the 21 cross-party amendments, so as to form a coherent counter-position, and to reject only if these amendments fail to receive the needed support by 367 votes. If the Parliament succedes in forming a coherent counter-position, the Council or the Commission are still free to withdraw the directive. Commissioner McCreevy has today once more demonstrated that he is more than willing to do this.

Background information and further news

Contact information

Hartmut Pilch and Holger Blasum
Munich Office
info at ffii org
tel. +49-89-18979927

Erik Josefsson
Brussels Office
erjos at ffii org
tel. +32-484-082063

Jonas Maebe
FFII BE
jmaebe at ffii org
tel. +32-485-369645

Rufus Pollock
FFII UK
rufus.pollock at ffii.org.uk
+44-1223-690423

Gérald Sédrati-Dinet
FFII FR
gibus at ffii.fr
+33-6-60-56-36-45

About the 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. FFII supports the development of public information goods based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 850 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.