[Fsfe-ie] CBS MarketWatch article on EU swpat

Ben North ben at redfrontdoor.org
Mon Nov 29 10:31:06 CET 2004

I was asking Google News whether there were any reports from the meeting
on 25/26 November, and it gave me this article from 24 Nov:


(Registration required alas.)  The article is

> CBS MarketWatch
> Europe debates software patents
> Commentary: EU decision will be crucial to United States
> By John C. Dvorak
> Last Update: 3:32 PM ET Nov. 24, 2004

He seems to be saying that if Europe does not adopt the directive (it's
not clear whether he means "as it's currently being considered", i.e.,
without the sanity amendments, or "in some form", or "in the form with
the amendments", but from reading the rest I think he means "in its
current form"), the US will suffer.  The other way of looking at that is
"if Europe does adopt this directive, Europe will suffer" of course.

A couple of excerpts:

> If the European patent plan is not adopted, the United States could be
> at a huge competitive disadvantage from which it may be impossible to
> recover.

Or "Europe will be at a huge competitive advantage if it does *NOT*
adopt this patent plan".

> If the rest of the world does not agree with the United States [...]
> products developed in Europe could be illegal to import into the United
> States because of possible patent violations. If these are important
> tools that give users a competitive advantage, American companies would
> suffer without them.

"If Europe forbids software patents, Europe will be able to develop
innovative products while American companies are mired in wrangling by
patent lawyers."

> The European Union has many of the same
> commercial pressures as the United States does. Big corporations benefit
> the most from large patent portfolios and patent licensing.

He goes on to give the example of IBM, a large American company.

> The United States is the world's most
> important market, so it's unlikely that Europe wants to create a
> bureaucratic nightmare by having totally different patent rules for
> software.
> That said, the current U.S. administration has done nothing to endear
> itself to the Europeans. Friends such as Poland have already said "no"
> to software patents. So anything can happen.

He also gives FFII as the "for more information" link.  All quite

Has there been any feedback from the 25/26 meeting?


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