The ‘as such’ loophole

Patents: According to Ciaran O’Riordan of IFSO, one key aspect of the EU Council’s meeting on the software patent legalisation proposal hinged on the use of the phrase ‘as such’, to effectively sneak a loophole past the Council members:

I recommend that everyone listen to the recordings of the Council’s meeting. Transcripts are also linked from there, but the tone of voice etc. is interesting.

Anyway, basically, the people in the room didn’t understand the implications of the text (that’s our fault).

Bolkenstein added an amendment: “computer programs will not be patentable as such” – this (rightly) fooled most people into thinking that software would not be patentable. Really, it just means you can’t patent software as software, you have to patent “software running on a computer”. I think the rejected part of the German amendment would have closed this loophole. …..

Anyway, the point is that the Council members were on our side, we just hadn’t told them precisely what we want …. We told them “no to software patents”, and they think they’ve done that. We should have said “no to ‘as such”‘, and similar textual lobbying rather then implication lobbying.

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