[Fsfe-ie] can anyone find Avril Doyle's anti-swpat PR from 2003?

Alex Macfie alex at cgce.net
Thu Jun 30 11:53:06 CEST 2005

On Jun 30, 2005, at 17:26, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:

> Before the first reading, she made a press release against software 
> patents,
> and she was strongly on our side.
> Can anyone find that PR now?  (so I can give it to her assistant asap)

In plaintext...



 Brussels, 31stJuly 2003

Press Release


Innovation or Litigation?

EU to institute Software Patenting in Europe - Doyle


The European Parliament is due to debate a controversial Directive on 
software patenting in the upcoming September plenary session in 
Strasbourg. This proposal aims to clarify and harmonise the laws of the 
EU Member States, in line with our obligations underthe WTO’s Agreement 
on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The 
implications of this legislation for Irish software developers and the 
economy at large are a matter of great concern.


Under existing legislation, copyright is used to protect the lines of 
code written by a programmer, in much the same way as lines of text can 
be copyrighted in the field of literature. Patenting would aim to 
protect the ideas behind this software, i.e. the purpose for which the 
programme will be used, provided a significant "technical contribution" 
is made to the state of the art. The term "technical" is very 
ambiguous, however and provides a potential loophole.


The European Patent Office would be enhanced under this bill. In 
addition, lawyers specialising in intellectual property law stand to 
gain a considerable amount of business as software developers are taken 
to court for infringement of patents of which they may not have been 
aware. In addition to legal fees, however, the costs incurred in filing 
for a patent may place an onerous burden on small businesses.


With the launch of the Lisbon process, Europe has set itself the 
ambitious target of achieving excellence in the framework of a 
knowledge-based economy, centred on small and medium enterprises - the 
e-Europe strategy. In the light of this goal, the question we need to 
ask ourselves is whether patenting in this form will foster innovation 
amongst small software developers or will have a stifling effect and 
serve to concentrate access to information in the hands of large non 
European companies who can afford predatory patenting and expensive 
legal battles? We must bear in mind that American and Japanese 
companies already hold the majority of patents worldwide for many of 
the techniques used by Irish and European businesses in their 


The effects of large-scale patenting by the big players is a highly 
contentious issue in the United States. Many experts are of the belief 
that the US patenting system has led to the establishment of monopolies 
and a consequent reduction in competition. The end result being a 
restriction of choice and increased prices for consumers.


The argument in favour of patents claims that they foster innovation by 
allowing companies to protect themselves against the initial costs of 
research and development. Where software is concerned, however, there 
is very often little financial outlay concerned at this stage, compared 
to developing pharmaceuticals for example. Software development is 
incremental, so that basic units of code are built upon by different 
developers, who produce completely new products. Affordable access to 
this information for small and medium IT companies must be safeguarded. 
Protection for software is necessary, but US-style patents are not the 
only option.


Given the enormous importance of the software industry to the Irish 
economy, any attempt to regulate the legal framework of this field 
should be undertaken in a far-sighted, well informed and cautious 
manner. We need to thoroughly research our options and debate the path 
that Ireland wishes to tread with regard to software patenting in order 
to maximize our competitiveness in this area.Serious engagement is 
needed from an Irish point of view to make sure that the right 
decisions are made.




For further information please contact 087 2502101



Alex alex at cgce.net
Interpol and Deutsche Bank, FBI and Scotland Yard
Flensburg and the BKA, have our data.
Kraftwerk, ComputerWelt (translated)

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