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To read comments to this article, go here
EU Software Patents - What's Next & Some Testimonies
Monday, May 30 2005 @ 12:15 PM EDT

I discovered a wonderful page presenting testimonies, as they call them, from European business men and women on the subject of software patents and why innovation is encouraged when software patents are not allowed. It's fascinating, and you can get a feel for the reasons people have for their opposition to such patents. There is one tongue-in-cheek endorsement of business patents from the CEO of Nexedi. Here's a sample of some of the rest:

  • "Patents hamper innovation and interoperability on the World Wide Web" - Hĺkon Wium Lie, Opera Software
  • "Patents are nails in the coffin for the VoIP telephony industry" - Danny Fröberg, Forest Star
  • "Automotive Software needs Copyright not Patents" - Thomas Wünsche, EMS
  • "Software patents are not the best way to protect intellectual property" - Marten Mickos, MySQL
  • "Patents increase our costs by 30-50%, for the sole benefit of US competitors" - Stefane Fermigier, Nuxeo
  • "Patents make individual software impossible" - Wolfgang Wopperer, mindmatters
  • "Software patents enable big companies to do with smaller companies whatever they like" - Klaus Schmidinger, CadSoft
  • "Software patents will clog innovation in the whole sector" - Mathias Conradt, Sysvision GmbH

Each snip is followed by a link to a longer, complete statement. It's a great idea to do such a page. For one thing, there are photographs of each person giving a statement, and they show normal business people, not crazed, radical hippies. The dark side likes to misrepresent those opposed to software patents, so the photographs of these folks in their suits and ties was a stroke of genius. There are many more there, and pictures of those giving their statements.

At the bottom of the page, there is this notice:

If you would like to have your testimony presented here, send a email with your picture, logo, description and statement to em-testimony@ffii.org

I assume you should be a European businessperson to participate.

Here's a schedule of upcoming events related to software patents in Europe, taken from FFII's list:

  • June 1 -- FFII & CCIA conference, at both the European Parliament and the Renaissance Hotel, Brussels, followed by a number of other events. details.
  • June 2 -- Greens EFA & FSF conference on software patents and FLOSS, EP, Brussels:
    The "Software Patents" Directive is back in the European Parliament. It will be adopted by the Committee on Legal Affairs on June 20/21th. The plenary session will debate and the text in second reading during the first week of July. This conference takes place at a crucial moment of the intense debate on the software patents.

    The impact software patents would have on Free Software is one of the key elements of the debate. Could Free/Libre/Open-Source software (FLOSS) still flourish in the European Union if the Directive legalizes software patents? We've gathered key representatives of the FLOSS community, from the public sector, private sector, and civil society, to debate this topic.

  • June 2 -- EPP SME hearing.
  • June 2 -- Demonstration, Brussels. http://demo.ael.be/ -- accompanied by a web demonstration.
  • June 20-21 -- JURI committee votes on software patents
  • June 30 - July 1 -- WIPO Worldwide Academy International Symposium on Intellectual Property (IP) Education and Research. Program.
  • July 5-6 -- European parliament plenary discussion and vote


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