[Fsfe-ie] Swpat: possible players

Seth Johnson seth.johnson at realmeasures.dyndns.org
Tue Dec 2 00:24:16 CET 2003

It might be interesting to go into whatever the analogue is in Europe 
for "Technology Transfer Officers" groups, and put across the line and 
see if anybody bites.  TTOs are the people established in the States 
by Bayh-Dole, the Act that allowed publicly funded research 
institutions to privatize software research by patenting it.  It's the 
thing that bought out the educational institutions, who would 
otherwise have been our natural allies.  Expect complete negativity, 
but one good gem among them could do wonders.  I recently poked my 
head up on a TTO list and the response I got was "you may be right 
with respect to your concerns about software, but pharmaceutical stuff 
is a different matter."  I'm actually wondering whether there might 
now be a good component of TTOs who actually might speak up on our 


-----Original Message-----
From: James Heald <j.heald at ucl.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 22:46:01 +0000
Subject: [Fsfe-ie] Swpat: possible players

> I've been looking through websites, trying to identify more potential
> players.
> One thing which is very important to think about is that any contacts
> with the powers-that-be will be have far more impact if they can be 
> firmly established as a joint Free Software/SME initiative, rather
> than 
> just  "free-love, open-standard, freeware fanatics" as one UK lawyer 
> tried to marginalise Open Sourcers.
> So it is a priority to find a credible, representative voice of SME
> IT 
> companies to run our campaign in harness with side-by-side.
> Below are a few links found on the web, just the first tip of the 
> iceberg, trying to build up a list of possible players.  We need to
> work 
> out who's likely to be friendly, and who may be less so:
> *  Prof Robert Clark, UCD.
> *  UCD's "Nova" incubator for technology companies
> *  Departments of Computer Science
> *  Enterprise Ireland favourite IT companies.
> *  British and Irish Licensing Executives Society
> =============================================================
> *  Prof Robert Clark, UCD.
> -- head lecturer in Intellectual Property in University College
> Dublin
> -- member of the Internet Advisory Board and the Patent Office Users 
> Council in Ireland.
> more details at the end of the email
> * UCD's "Nova" incubator for technology companies
> 	http://www.ucd.ie/news/oct03/novaucd.htm
> Probably this doesn't have any very close links to Prof Clark, but
> the 
> people running it might have some influence on the importance (or
> not) 
> of software patents as IT start-ups.
> At any rate, it might be interesting to try to get them to think a 
> little more deeply about the business issue, to stop them jumping 
> automatically to an "all IP is good IP" standpoint.
> * Departments of Computer Science
> I was recently talking somebody who's a local councillor here in the
> UK, 
> who's a university lecturer in a nearby Department of Computer
> Science.
> She hadn't previously been aware of the swpat issue, but was very
> clear 
> that, far from swpats being an important potential source of
> licensing 
> income for the department, she would be much more concerned about any
> negative effects of swpats on free software -- because given the 
> tightness of the department's budget, the more good free software
> they 
> can use, the better.
> It would be useful to sound out such attitudes in Irish faculties of 
> computer science, as well as the general "intelectual freedom" line. 
> Senior university people tend to be very good at networking, and have
> very good connections at Government level.
> * Enterprise Ireland favourite IT companies.
> An interesting list from a recent Enterprise Ireland trade mission to
> Finland.
> http://www.entemp.ie/press03/051103.htm
> * British and Irish Licensing Executives Society
> http://www.bi.les-europe.org/
> Presumably these people would like as wide a range of IP rights to be
> licensable as possible.  No sniggering about the URL please :grin:
> The chair of their Irish section is:
> Yvonne McNamara,
> c/o McCann Fitzgerald,
> 2 Harbourmaster Place,
> Dublin 1
> Tel: +353 1 829 0000
> email: yvonne.mcnamara at mccann-fitzgerald.ie
> They also have Special Interest Groups which include:
> EC/Laws
> Nigel Jones,
> Linklaters & Alliance,
> 1 Silk Street,
> London EC2Y 8HQ
> email: njones at linklaters.com
> IT and E-Commerce industries
> Elliot Papageorgiou, C/o Rouse & Co International,
> The Isis Building, Thames Quay,
> 193 Marsh Wall,
> London E14 9SG
> Fax: 020 7345 4555
> Email: epapageorgiou at iprights.com
> An old article from their newsletter (April 2001):
> "The Patentability of Software-related Business Methods - The Irish 
> Perspective"
> 	http://www.bi.les-europe.org/news/78.htm#7
> Two solicitors from Arthur Cox in Dublin don't really take a view on 
> whether patentability is a good thing or not, but do encourage
> business 
> to file and research as many patents as possible (ie put as much work
> as 
> possible the firm's way ?!)
> ====================================================================
> More detailed info about Prof. Robert Clark:
> "Robert Clark is Associate Professor of Law at the University
> College, 
> Dublin, and a member of the Irish Bar. He is a specialist in Contract
> Law, Intellectual Property Law and Information Technology Law. Robert
> is 
> a member of the Legal Advisory Board and the Market Copyright Experts
> group for the EU and a member of the Internet Advisory Board and the 
> Patent Office Users Council in Ireland. His many publications include
> Data Protection Law in Ireland, which is currently being completely 
> revised".
> (blurb from a conference on Data Protection Compliance held at the 
> Conrad Hotel in Dublin, Nov. 11th 2003, organised by 
> http://www.privacylaws.co.uk/)
> Elsewhere he is described as "an acknowledged expert in IT and 
> intellectual property law and is a consultant with Arthur Cox
> Solicitors".
> "Professor Robert Clark, who works as a consultant to the firm and is
> the head lecturer in Intellectual Property in University College
> Dublin, 
> augments the expertise of our lawyers.  Professor Clark is a leading 
> authority on Irish intellectual property law and is the author of 
> various publications including Intellectual Property Law in Ireland 
> (Butterworths, 1997) and Irish Copyright and Design Law
> (Butterworths, 
> 2001)".
> http://www.arthurcox.com/practice/view_practice.asp?Id=5&subid=55
> http://www.arthurcox.com/partners/profile.asp?Id=85
> He appears to be particularly expert on copyright and data
> protection:
> 	http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/biogs/BClark.htm
> As a practicing barrister, he might be expected to take the "pro as
> many 
> patents as possible line", but it seems he is at least sound on data 
> retention:
> 	"Departmental officials who claim that phone companies have 
> keeping traffic data for 6 years are seriously misleading the Public.
> Traffic data has been kept for this time and used by the companies
> for 
> legitimate purposes such as answering customer queries on old
> accounts 
> and cancelled subscriber matters, their own direct marketing and 
> interconnector payments, but most data was taken off the system after
> some months or anonymised. But until the April 2002 Order by then 
> Minister O'Rourke - a secret, legally enforceable obligation on the 
> Telcos - third party access was governed by data protection law and 
> privacy rules. To say otherwise is to flag this vague proposal as
> being 
> pro- privacy, which it is not. The simple fact is that the O'Rourke 
> Order has no checks and balances in it so to the extent that any new 
> Bill will contain improvements in the present situation I will 
> personally welcome them.
>      However, the signs are not good. The new law will give effect to
> the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention and this requires
> compliance 
> if data recovery is technically feasible- and damn the expense to the
> service provider. There are a few platitudes to human rights laws
> being 
> observed but the Convention is much less precise on these matters.
> Will 
> the new Act have appeal mechanisms for both business and citizens?
> Will 
> there be transparent and meaningful procedures involving judicial 
> scrutiny of applications before orders are granted or the need to
> show 
> probable cause? We have already seen this week that even where the 
> technology works people will foul up; just ask poor 72 year old
> Mr.Bond 
> who was entertained for 17 days in a south African police cell when
> the 
> FBI sought to extradite the wrong man.
>      Professor Robert Clark, Faculty of Law, UCD"
> (Letter to the Irish Times, March 2003, quoted at
> 	http://radio.weblogs.com/0103966/2003/03/03.html)
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