[Fsfe-ie] Letter to Creevy

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Wed Feb 16 10:51:39 CET 2005

I've incorporated almost all suggestions.

Can someone offer to make this into a faxable document and then fax it?

Preferably right now?

McCreevy's fax is: [can anyone see a fax no for him?]
If no fax, I'll email it to him in 30 mins or so.

(any final suggestions should be made equally quickly)

Dear Commissioner McCreevy,

Irish Free Software Organisation would like to very briefly justify our
request that the "software patents directive" should be restarted.

* 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" IFSO agrees with this.
  However, the Council's text, which relies on undefined terms such as
  "technical contribution", and "industrial", and "technical field", could
  only yield an outcome that would require case law to define the the scope
  of patentability.

* The amendments adopted by the parliament to fix these problems were backed
  by a 75% majority.  JURI voted 19-to-1 to call for a restart.  Since the
  MEPs in the European Parliament and the JURI committee are the only
  directly elected representatives involved in this process, it would be a
  regrettable example of the EU's "democratic deficit" if they were ignored.

* The costs of patent searches and the possible cost of litigation, whether
  the litigator's claim is valid or not, are too high for any individuals
  and most businesses.  For writing software, the introduction of patents on
  software ideas would not just raise the barrier to entry, it would create
  a barrier where previously there was none.

* The US Federal Trade Commission's 2003 "Report on Innovation", which was a
  general review of the USA's patent system, said that "software and
  internet patents" were obstructing innovation and causing "patent
  thickets" for software writers.  The report gave no redeeming qualities
  for such patents.

Ciarán O'Riordan
Free Software in Ireland: http://www.ifso.ie

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