[Fsfe-ie] Software Patents - Innovation or Litigation? - Doyle (fwd)

Ian Clarke ian at locut.us
Mon Jan 31 20:51:31 CET 2005

On 31 Jan 2005, at 19:30, jm at jmason.org wrote:
> fyi -- just got this from Avril Doyle's office.  So BillG is
> coming to lobby...

Yup, with this in mind I sent the following to Piia-Noora Kauppi MEP 
who is good on swpat and is apparently one of those meeting our good 
friend Bill tomorrow (I also followed-up with a phonecall to ensure 
that her aide read it in time):

> 	From: 	  ian at locut.us
> 	Subject: 	Bill Gates meeting tomorrow
> 	Date: 	31 January 2005 11:12:04 GMT
> 	To: 	  pkauppi at europarl.eu.int
> Dear Ms Kauppi,
> I am the founder and CEO of Cematics Ltd, a software development 
> company based in Edinburgh, Scotland.  I am extremely concerned about 
> the negative effect software patents will have should the current EPO 
> practice of granting software patents be codified in law, thus 
> "activating" tens of thousands of already-granted European Software 
> Patents that are presently dormant due to their questionable validity.
> I am aware that you have been a strong voice against the introduction 
> of Software Patents in the EU, and I would firstly like to express my 
> appreciation for your efforts in this regard.  It is my understanding 
> that Bill Gates of Microsoft will be meeting with a number of MEPs 
> tomorrow on the subject of the Software Patent Directive, and that you 
> would be one of those meeting with him.
> If so, it would be very interesting to hear his response to the 
> following quote, attributed to him in 1991:
> "If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of 
> today's ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry 
> would be at a complete standstill today. ... The solution is patenting 
> as much as we can. A future startup with no patents of its own will be 
> forced to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose. That price 
> might be high. Established companies have an interest in excluding 
> future competitors."
> (This was quoted by Fred Warshofsky in "The Patent Wars" of 1994. 
> According to this book the text is from an internal memo written by 
> Bill Gates to his staff. Part of has appeared in another Gates memos).
> I think if this quote is accurate then it would appear that Bill Gates 
> shares the opinion of concerned software developers that software 
> patents will be bad for competition, but he sees this as an 
> opportunity for Microsoft rather than a threat.  It would certainly 
> not be the role of the European Union to aid Microsoft in their 
> efforts to quash their future competitors.
> I would be very appreciative if you could seek Mr Gates' response to 
> this quote should you meet him yourself, or if you could forward this 
> email to one of the MEPs that will be in a position to do this.
> Yours with Gratitude,
> Ian Clarke.

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

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