[Fsfe-ie] Possible contacts: software companies

James Heald j.heald at ucl.ac.uk
Wed Dec 10 19:43:33 CET 2003

Some directories of software companies in Ireland:

	with sector = software



and foreign software companies who have invested in Ireland:


I was going to screen-scrape the data from the first two into a flat 
file, but I'm completely out of time now until after the weekend -- so 
if there's anybody who feels like making an extract of the information, 
that would be ++useful.

It seemed to me that the best way to make contact on this front might be 
to try to run an authoritative email questionnaire early in January, 
perhaps in conjunction with a reputable academic for credibility, to 
find out just what Irish software companies think of software patents, 
and what effects they forsee them having.

My idea would be to try to contact as many of the companies as possible 
by email, with a short introduction explaining the survey and motivating 
its timeliness, a link to a pro-swpat statement (eg the Intellect UK 
submission to the UK Patent Office consultation), and a link to an 
anti-swpat site.

Then as a tear-off style reply section, four key questions to get a 
yes/no answer to:

*  Do your company own any software patents ?
*  Do you licence any software patents ?
*  Do you regularly check the patent databases for software patents ?
*  Would you prefer software patents to be generally available (eg 
CEC/JURI proposal), or tightly restricted to ... (EU Parliament proposal) ?

In each case, we should give the comapny a chance to say why yes or why 
no -- but not push this /too/ strongly, if this might put anyone off 
replying at all.

Finally we should probably have an optional section, to allow the 
company to tell us (if they want to about their size / number of 
employees / turnover / sphere of activities -- and whether any of these 
colour their answers to the 4 questions above.

A useful forerunner to perhaps use as a template could be the Fraunhofer 
survey of the German software sector, see
and links.

The survey itself, run by the Fraunhofer institute, was very revealing 
about the reasons for deep skepticism about swpats in much of the German 
software industry.  Unfortunately in the final output, it was coupled to 
a report from a legal institute which couldn't see the problem with 
software patents, and a set of conclusions which didn't really seem to 
reflect either report.

But the conclusions from the Fraunhofer report show how revealing an 
authoritative survey could be, particularly if done in conjunction with 
somebody with recognised academic credibility.

I think it could also be quite a good way to get us in touch with new 
contacts and stories.

All best,


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