September 24th software professionals around the world will celebrate the annual World Day against Software Patents. This year the Swedish EU Presidency happens to contributes a minister consultation to the #ssp09 celebrations with an aim to "[review] Community innovation policy in a changing world". At the 24th September Ministerial Council session ministers will be asked to reflect on the following questions(1):
1. What are the main strengths and weaknesses of present Community innovation policy, compared with the efforts of our global competitors? 2. What should be the key elements of a successful future EU innovation policy, in particular of the forthcoming European Innovation Plan, to address our global challenges and to strengthen the EU's competitiveness and growth? 3. What should be done to increase the innovation capacity of SMEs [Small medium Enterprises]?
The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure e.V. encourages you to submit your own answers to
consultation at ffii.org
We would appreciate to publish your answers online.
Please also keep us informed how you would celebrate World Day against Software Patents (#ssp09).
September 24 is remembered as the day when our European Parliament expressed its dissatisfaction with software patentability in Europe (2) and endorsed legal clarifications to protect European digital markets from undesirable software patenting (3).
- Endorse the European Petition against Software Patenting: http://www.stopsoftwarepatents.eu
- Worldwide Stopsoftwarepatents.org website: http://www.stopsoftwarepatents.org
- Sign up to the Facebook cause: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/115578
- Follow the FFII on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ffii
- Upgrade supporter status to membership or terminate membership http://members.ffii.org
- Donations to the FFII e.V. http://www.ffii.org/Donations
- Software Patents discussions list: https://lists.ffii.org/mailman/listinfo/softwarepatents
A while ago Hartmut Pilch summarized the current status of software patents in Europe as follows: "In July 2005, after several failed
attempts to legalise software patents in Europe, the patent establishment changed its strategy. Instead of explicitly seeking to
sanction the patentability of software, they are now seeking to create a central European patent court, which would establish and enforce
patentability rules in their favor, without any possibility of correction by competing courts or democratically elected legislators."
National patent specialists of the Council are working to set up a European Patent Court with loyal judges ("Unified Patent Litigation
System (UPLS)") to avoid broad democratic deliberations on substantive patent law, and hand over EU powers to the European Patent Organisation
Equally implicit are the objectives of the Swedish Presidency for an European Innovation Plan: "In a context of economic crisis, it is time to step up a gear and propose an ambitious European Innovation Plan, which puts society at its heart and is oriented alongside the main societal challenges." …"progress has not been so satisfactory in providing an adequate legal framework for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights, venture capital markets remain fragmented across the EU and the standardisation process needs to brought more in line with research and industry needs."(1)
More patenting, more enforcement tools for non-praticing entities ("trolls"), less competition/market access, standards as patent cartells for dominant market players from oversees rather than more "open standards" for a participatory digital society? What underlies the competetiveness jargon? For sure, European Digital Independence or protection of European software manufacturers from software patents and
other legal risks/friction are not on the Swedish agenda for an "European Innovation Plan".
The three questions above are for the discussions of a Commission document (4) which claims "The European patent system is costly and fragmented, discouraging innovation compared to the US and Japan. The difference in patenting costs in comparison to these countries is significant and is not being reduced. It is high time to change this situation." The Patent specialists prepare a solution, a central European Patent Court.
+32-2-414 84 03
bhenrion at ffii.org
About the FFII
The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in over fifty countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, and open standards. More than 1000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.