[Fsfe-ie] New EU Patent Policy Project: Campaigner Responds to EC's Questionnaire

teresahackett at eircom.net teresahackett at eircom.net
Tue Mar 14 15:57:41 CET 2006


Companies, organizations and citizens encouraged to submit prepared set 
of answers to the EC in their own name "in order to stress that most of 
Europe's IT industry is against software patents and patent inflation" --

Deadline for writing to the EC is March 31

Brussels (March 8, 2006) -- On January 16, the European Commission (EC)
published a questionnaire on the future of the European patent system,
covering a broad range of policy issues such as an EU-wide community 
patent, the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA), and other 
measures of streamlining the European patent system. Such consultations 
are preparatory to new legislative proposals, which pundits expect the 
EC to put forward after the summer.

Some campaigners have already warned that the EU is once again working 
on ways to strengthen the legal basis of software patents in Europe. 
Pro-patent lobbyists such as SAP lawyer Guenther Schmalz confirmed in 
public that "it is starting again". The European Parliament had thrown 
out a proposal for a software patent directive on July 6 last year.

Companies, organizations and individuals who would like to tell the EU 
their opinion on what its patent policy should look like have until the 
end of this month to answer the EC's questionnaire. But in order to do 
so, "one has to wade through hundreds of pages of legislative proposals 
and related documentation", according to Florian Mueller, the founder of 
the award-winning NoSoftwarePatents campaign: "It's the usual EU 
lobby-cracy. Still it's very important that many of us write to the EC 
in order to stress that most of Europe's IT industry is against software 
patents and patent inflation."

The campaigner, who has been listed among the "top 50 most influential 
figures in intellectual property", today published a 13-page position 
paper as a PDF file
(http://www.no-lobbyists-as-such.com/PATSTRATpositionpaper.pdf) and 
related explanations
in his blog. Everyone is free to submit that document to the EC in his 
own name.

A three-page "Quick Facts" PDF document
(http://www.no-lobbyists-as-such.com/PATSTRATquickfacts.pdf) explains 
what the new EU patent policy project is about and why it is important 
from the perspective of software patents. According to Mueller, some of 
the proposals could be agreed upon at the intergovernmental level 
without any decision-making authority on the part of the European 
Parliament, which is feared by pro-patent lobbyists because of its 
landmark decisions in 2003 and 2005. But national parliaments, several 
of which expressed opinions during the row over the software patent 
directive, may have a more influential role this time: some decisions 
may have to be ratified by them.

Mueller's position paper is already supported by 1&1 Internet AG 
(Europe's largest Web hosting company), Materna GmbH (a German IT and
telecommunications company), and MySQL AB (Europe's largest open-source 
software company).

NOTE: Florian Mueller founded the NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign in 2004
with the support of three corporate sponsors (1&1, Red Hat, MySQL AB), 
and managed it until March of 2005. He then gave his website to the 
Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), the leading 
European pressure group that opposes the patentability of computer 
programs.  In connection with the EU's new patent policy initiative, 
Mueller is active on behalf of a group of European IT companies, 
including Europe's largest Web hosting company 1&1 Internet AG, German 
IT and telecommunications company Materna GmbH, and Swedish-based MySQL 
AB, Europe's largest open-source software company.

For his efforts against software patents, Mueller has been nominated as 
one of the "top 50 most influential figures in intellectual property" by 
Managing Intellectual Property magazine, and as one of the 50 "Silicon 
Agenda Setters". His NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign received the "CNET 
Networks UK Technology Award" in the "Outstanding Contribution to 
Software Development" category, and the EU-focused newspaper European 
Voice lists him as the European "Campaigner of the Year 2005" 
(www.EV50.com) after he received more votes in a public poll than U2 
frontman Bono and other candidates.


Florian Mueller
fmueller.nosoftwarepatents at gmail.com
phone +49-8151-21088

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