[Fsfe-ie] Letter to Creevy

Ian Clarke ian at locut.us
Tue Feb 15 18:39:09 CET 2005

On 15 Feb 2005, at 16:18, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> Dear Commissioner McCreevy,
> Irish Free Software Organisation would like to briefly explain why the

  ^- *The* Irish Free...

> "software patents directive" should be brought back a step to be fixed.

In the interests of plain language, perhaps s/brought back a step to be 

> = Every patent is a regulation on software writers.  The added 
> bureacracy of
>   obtaining permission to use a software idea, and the added legal 
> costs of
>   patent searches and litigation would greatly harm the Lisbon 
> strategy's
>   aim to increase the competitiveness of the EU.
> * On Feb 2nd, you said "Having no directive means continuing to rely 
> on case
>   law, which leads to considerable legal uncertainty which is why we 
> must
>   strive to find a balanced solution."  IFSO agrees, but the Councils 
> text,
>   which relies on undefined terms such as "technical effect" and 
> "industrial
>   application", could only yield an outcome that would require case 
> law and
>   legal precedents to define the law.

Last sentence is a bit unclear, case law *is* the law, so how could it 
*define* the law?

How about ", would impose the most liberal interpretation of what can 
be patented on the EU, effectively legitimising software patents".

> * The costs of patent searches and the possible cost of litigation, 
> whether
>   the litigators claim is valid or not, are too high for all 
> individuals and
>   most businesses.  In software writing, the introduction of patents 
> would
>   not just raise the barrier to entry, it would create a barrier where
>   previously there was none.
> * The parliament fixed this directive by 75% majorities, JURI want it 
> fixed

"75% majorities" -> "a 75% majority"

"fixed this directive" -> "voted to correct these problems"

>   by a 17 or 19 majority.  Since >>>these are the only groups made of
>   democratically elected representatives<<<, it would be a regrettable 
> example

the MEPs in the European Parliament and JURI committee are the only 
directly elected representatives involved in this process

>   of the EU's "democratic deficit" if they were to be ignored.
> * The recent news that Bill Gates threatened the Danish Prime Minister 
> with
>   the loss of 800 jobs if this directive was not passed is [what?  
> Should
>   this point even be here]

I'm not sure, could make us seem more emotional than rational...  if we 
do use it lets ensure that we stick only to hard facts, rather than 

> = The US Federal Trade Commission's 2003 "Report on Innovation" said 
> that
>   "software and internet patents" were obstructing innovation.

This supports the assertion that software patents are bad, but we must 
be careful not to neglect the other fundamental assertion that the 
current Council text will lead to software patents.

Hope that helps,


Founder, The Freenet Project	http://freenetproject.org/
CEO, Cematics Ltd				http://cematics.com/
Personal Blog					http://locut.us/~ian/blog/

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