HANNOVER, Germany—The issue of software patents in Europe is headed back to the European Parliament, which is exactly the right place for the debate—and a final decision—to take place, according to the commissioner for Information Society and Media for the European Commission.
Speaking at a technology forum hosted by The Economist magazine and taking place at the annual CeBIT trade fair here, Commissioner Viviane Reding said, "Now the game is in the European Parliament."
The Council of the European Union earlier this week formally endorsed the EUs controversial legislation on IT patenting, paving the way for the proposal to move to its long-delayed next step in the legislative process. The proposed directive will now become European law within a year, unless it is rejected altogether.
The proposals opponents, including prominent open-source software developers such as Linus Torvalds, Members of European Parliament (MEPs) and the national governments of several EU member states, had hoped to prevent the EU Council from taking Mondays step of formally adopting the proposal as its "Common Position."
The European Parliament passed several resolutions asking the European Commission, the EUs executive branch, to start the legislative process over from scratch, a request the Commission denied.
"The decision is not anymore with the Commission. We are fortunate that we have a democracy in Europe, and the European Parliament has a major part to play here. That is why they are elected, and that is why they are there," said Reding.
Reding took the opportunity at the conference to announce that within several weeks she intends to present a European Information Society 2010 proposal aimed at increasing Europes competitiveness in information and communication technologies.
The plan includes regulatory reform, additional investment in technology research and education, and broadened technology accessibility for Europes citizens.
Additional reported by Matthew Broersma