[Fsfe-ie] FFII news: ACCU conference panel on software patents, Oxford, Thursday April 15.

James Heald j.heald at ucl.ac.uk
Fri Apr 9 16:49:38 CEST 2004

-- FFII News Release -- 9 April 2004 --
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-- For immediate release -- Please redistribute widely --

ACCU conference panel on software patents, Oxford, Thursday April 15.

In addition to the events organised in Brussels by the FFII next week on
Wednesday and Thursday,
there will be a lively discussion of Software Patents in Oxford in the
UK, on Thursday afternoon at the ACCU conference at the Randolph Hotel:

The intention is to give over as much of the session as possible to real
software developers, speaking from the floor, to explain what they think
of software patents, whether or not they are in favour, and how they
think the industry would be affected.  Responding to their comments will
be a well-informed panel made up of Dr Puay Tang (Research Fellow,
Sussex University),  Steve Probert (Deputy Director, UK Patent Office),
  James Heald (UK Co-ordinator, FFII), and Dr Sarah Weir (Senior
Business Manager, Cancer Research Technology).   [Further details below].

Registration for the conference costs £160 per day, or £595 for the full
conference, with reductions available for students and academics.

Journalists can be admitted free, but must be accredited first.  For
details and contact address, see

The ACCU spring conference (Association of C and C++ Users) is a
professional conference now in its tenth year, typically attracting
several hundred leading software developers, and extensive media.

The session on Software Patents (Thurs 4pm to 5.30) is timetabled as the
conclusion of a special two-day theme, running alongside the more
detailed technical strands, to take stock of Open Source in the
software industry, five years on from the initial hype -- from a
business perspective, where does it now stand, and where it is going ?

This strand is intended to be of more general wider interest to
journalists and decision-makers, as well as the high-calibre developers
at the conference.  It will kick off on Wednesday with a special keynote
address from renowned Open Source thinker and speaker Eric Raymond, and
panels include the latest developments for Open Source in e-Government,
  Open Source and Open Standards in Finance, a multitude of case
studies, and "Open Source Business Models That Work" -- all presented by
speakers right at the cutting edge of current developments.

For full details see,

It should be an interesting couple of days!


ACCU Conference Panel on Software Patentability
(Randolph Hotel, Oxford, Thursday 15 April, 4pm to 5.30)

Panel chair: Andy Robinson (Reportlab), overall co-ordinator for the
Open Source strand of the conference.

Panellists (proposed speaking order):

* Dr Puay Tang (Sussex University), to introduce the economics of
patentability in general, and some of the particular pros and cons of
software patentability.

Dr Tang is a Research Fellow at the Science and Technology Policy
Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex.  Her research focusses on
intellectual property rights and management; and the application and
development of new information and communication technologies.  She has
done extensive research on the implications of software patentability,
and wrote a report on the subject for the European Commission in 2001.

* Steve Probert (Patent Office), to explain the Patent Office view, and
who can speak authoritatively about what is and is not patentable both
now and under the latest versions of the proposed EU Directive.

Steve Probert is a Deputy Director of the UK Patent Office.  He has
handed down several decisions on "computer-implemented invention"
patents, and now has the immediate responsibility in the Patent Office
for technical aspects of the negotiations on the EU software patents

* James Heald (FFII), to explain some of the fears which have motivated
the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure's campaign against
the directive.

James Heald is the FFII's UK co-ordinator.

* Dr Sarah Weir (Cancer Research Technology), to discuss and contrast
the experience of patents in the pharmaceutical/biotech sector, where
patents are long established, and widely considered to be essential.

Dr Weir oversees the protection and commercialisation of research from
the research portfolios funded by Cancer Research UK and other funding
bodies both in the UK and abroad.

The overall session length is 90 minutes, and there has been a lot of
interest from attendees wanting to make floor speeches, from a variety
of different perspectives.  The session will therefore take the form of
opening remarks from the panel of no more than about five minutes each,
followed by as many comments from the floor as possible, with further
responses from the panel as appropriate.

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