[Fsfe-ie] Software patents stifle invention and place an undue burden on small and medium enterprises.

Éibhear ifso at gibiris.org
Thu Apr 15 16:33:32 CEST 2004


Perhaps you can bring the following up with the Tánaiste when you are
speaking with her.

On Wednesday of this week, hundreds of software engineers and small business
owners protested in Brussels against the introduction of Software Patents in
the EU. In September the European Parliament made amendments and
clarifications to a proposal to prevent it from legalizing software patents,
yet the European Council's internal working party chose to discard these

Does the Irish Presidency recognise the risks to innovation and competition
in the software industry that software patents create, and if so, why
discard the European Parliaments efforts to address these risks?

Some points of information:
1. The view of the United States' Federal Trade Commission is "that software
and Internet patents are impeding innovation" (FTC report, "To Promote
Innovation: The Proper Balance of Competition and Patent Law and Policy",
http://www.ftc.gov/os/2003/10/innovationrpt.pdf, page 165. See a summary at
2. A policy of allowing software patents benefits the large companies who
hold huge patent portfolios where they are allowed. Ms. Harney's brief, as
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment is to encourage innovation and
invention in Irish businesses.
3. A regime of software patents make it extremely difficult for small
companies or contractors to implement web sites or other software
applications for clients due to the cost and effort involved to ensure that
no patents are infringed.
4. Software is already protected (and well protected) by copyright. If this
measure is introduced, the software industry will be covered by both
copyright and patents. There is no need for that belt-and-braces approach.


Éibhear Ó hAnluain

Éibhear Ó hAnluain
The Irish Free Software Organisation,
"To promote and defend Free Software in Ireland",

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