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EUROLINUX Alliance

The EuroLinux Alliance for a Free Information Infrastructure is an open coalition of commercial companies and non-profit associations united to promote and protect a vigourous European Software Culture based on copyright, open standards, open competition and open source software such as Linux. Corporate members or sponsors of EuroLinux develop or sell software under free, semi-free and non-free licenses for operating systems such as GNU/Linux, MacOS or MS Windows.

->European Commission wants
Unlimited Patentability
Directive Draft by BSA
->Counter-Proposal
->Call for Action
->Europarl Events
->Support Now!

The European Parliament is likely to ratify a Software Patent Directive ("Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions"), possibly with helpful amendments, in July of this year or soon after the summer pause.

Detailed news are found at

FFII News about Software Patents

As a stakeholder in software development, you have opportunities to participate. Your participation can have a decisive influence.

Here are a few things to do:

  1. Endorse our positions by clicking
    http://petition.ffii.org/eubsa/en
    or, if you already have a user ID, by
    1. logging into the
      FFII/Eurolinux Community Tool
    2. navigating to "Signing Appeals"
    3. navigating to "membership status" and setting it to "supporter" or higher.
  2. Now you are logged into a system which makes it easy to select and contact Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

    Navigate through the menu selections

    • My MEPs
    • I would rather select an MEP myself
    • [ selection criteria ]
    • [ 1 MEP ]
  3. Directly phone your MEP, express your concern about the Software Patent Directive Project, find out who in this MEP's office is studying the matter, how they think and whom they follow, and inform us by filling in the "Confidential Note" field.

    It is very important that MEPs hear your voice directly and not just the voices of a few "Eurolinux lobbyists".

  4. Write to the person with whom you just phoned.
    Draft a position statement, send it to an archived mailing list for discussion, publish it on your website.
    Whatever you say and write, keep it simple. Write from your perspective as a software stakeholder, leave if to your MEP to draw general political conclusions.[1]
  5. The Green and Liberal Fractions of the European Parliament are calling on representatives of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) to speak at a hearing on May 8th about the Software Patent Directive Project. There will also be a demonstration with theatre and speeches in front of the parliament building and a scientific conference starting on May 7th.

    Information about the event schedule is appearing at

    http://swpat.ffii.org/events/2003/europarl/05/
    and you can register as a participant through the FFII/Eurolinux Community Tool

    If you would like to help with organisational work (e.g. onsite work in Brussels, organising driving communities etc) or speak at one of the events, please follow the hints at

    AEL.be Event Organisation Wiki
  6. Donate for our lobbying expenses. We are spending at least 30,000 EUR on top of a lot of unpaid voluntary work, and we will not be able to pay all our bills unless you come forward with donations.

    The bank account for a donation is

    Country:
    DE (Germany)
    Bank Code:
    70150000
    BIC (bank identifier code):
    SSKMDEMM
    SWIFT:
    SSKM DE MM
    Name of Bank:
    Stadtsparkasse Muenchen
    Bank's Postal Address:
    DE 80335 Muenchen
    Lotstr 1
    Account:
    31112097
    IBAN (international bank account number)[2]:
    DE78701500000031112097
    Account Owner:
    FFII e.V.
    Account Owner's Postal Address:
    DE 80636 Muenchen
    Blutenburgstr 17
    Keyword:
    europarl

    Alternatively you can donate via paypal.com to paypal at ffii org.

    FFII is acknowledged as a public-interest association and we can send you a receipt that at least in Germany makes the donation tax-deductible.

It would be great if you could get started with at least one of the above items right now.

Thank you very much

->FFII News about Software Patents
Latest Developments concerning the limits of patentability in Munich, Karlsruhe, Berlin, Brussels etc and the FFII's activities for the protection of information innovation against the abuse of the patent system
->Página de campañas de ProInnova
Spanish Campaign against Software Patents and how to support it
->Bernard Lang: Annotated Links on the Software Patentability Debate
contains a long list of commented references to studies on swpat economics
->Die Gedanken sind ...
Easy to understand and entertaining Introduction to the problem of software patents by Peter Gerwinski, in German.
->European Consultation on the Patentability of Computer-Implementable Rules of Organisation and Calculation (= Programs for Computers)
On 2000-10-19 the European Commission's Industrial Property Unit published a position paper which tries to describe a legal reasoning similar to that which the European Patent Office has during recent years been using to justify its practise of granting software patents against the letter and spirit of the written law, and called on companies and industry associations to comment on this reasoning. The consultation was evidently conceived as a mobilisation exercise for patent departments of major corporations and associations. The consultation paper itself stated the viewpoint of the European Patent Office and asked questions that could only be reasonably answered by patent lawyers. Moreover, it was accompanied by an "independent study", carried out under the order of the EC IndProp Unit by a well known patent movement think-tank, which basically stated the same viewpoint. Patent law experts of various associations and corporations responded, mostly by applauding the paper and explaining that patents are needed to stimulate innovation and to protect the interests of small and medium-size companies. However there were also quite a few associations, companies and more than 1000 individuals, mostly programmers, who expressed their opposition to the extension of patentability to the realm of software, business methods, intellectual methods and other immaterial products and processes. The EC IndProp Unit later failed to adequately publish the consultation results and moderate a discussion. Therefore we are doing this, and you can help us.
->European Software Patent Horror Gallery
A database of the monopolies on programming problems, which the European Patent Office has granted against the letter and spirit of the existing laws, and about which it is unsufficiently informing the public, delivering only chunks of graphical data hidden behind input masks. The FFII software patent workgroup is trying to single out the software patents, make them better accessible and show their effects on software development.
->Software Patents of the European Patent Office
During the last few years, the European Patent Office (EPO) has granted several 10000 patents on computer-implemented rules of organisation and calculation, i.e. programs for computers [ as such ]. We are systematically collecting these patents and republishing them in a more accessible form.

NO ePATENTS
please sign http://petition.eurolinux.org/


Notes

[1] Your argument could contain some of the following elements, expressed in your own words:
  1. You want to create/use software without having to worry about patents. Explain what your stakes in software are, how you make money from it, why software copyright works fine for you.
  2. When looking at the software patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO, Europaeisches Patentamt EPA, Office Europeen de Brevets OEB, Ufficio de l'Brevetto Europeo UBE, Oficina Europea de Patentes OEP) at
    http://www.espacenet.com/
    http://swpat.ffii.org/patents/txt/ep/
    you find that they are broad and trivial and, if enforced, likely to make life very difficult for software developpers and businessmen (such as yourself --- possibly cite example patents which are impeding or likely to impede your work). None of these patents, as far as you can see, is likely to stimulate innovation. In general, they offend the common sense and established ethics of software developpers, and they do not protect investments in software development.
  3. You have trusted in Art 52 EPC (European Patent Convention, Convention sur le Brevet Europeen CBE, Europaeisches Patentuebereinkommen EPUe), according to which "programs for computers" (Programme fuer Datenverarbeitungsanlagen, programmes pour ordinateurs) are not patentable inventions (patentfaehige Erfindungen, inventions brevetables), see also
    Patent Jurisprudence on a Slippery Slope -- the price for dismantling the concept of technical invention
    You want the European Parliament to restore the trust in the law which the EPO has recently undermined.
  4. Words such as "computer-implemented invention" or "technical contribution", as used in the European Commission's directive proposal, make little or no sense to you, the software expert. The proposal says its wants "clarification" but, at least for stakeholders such as yourself, it makes things extremely unclear and confusing. Does your MEP really understand this supposed "clarification"?

    "Computer-implemented invention" (inventions mise en oevre par ordinateur, computer-implementierte Erfindung) is a new word created by patent lawyers in order to suggest that algorithms and programs are, contrary to what is written in Art 52 EPC, patentable inventions. You feel strongly offended by the title of the proposed "Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions" and by the EPO jargon that is used in the text. The discussion should be led in terms that you, the software expert, can understand, and that have an unambiguous meaning in the context of your work. The legislation should be benchmarked according to interdisciplinary criteria such as those worked out at

    Patentability Legislation Benchmarking Test Suite
    How does the directive proposal perform according to your MEP's opinion? Could he/she please explain?
  5. You support the
    Call for Action
    and urge your MEP to support it likewise (some MEPs are already listed as signatories), and to table the
    Amendments
    proposed therein in time before the upcoming plenary vote of mid may.
  6. You propose to meet your MEP, possibly around one of our events in/near the Parliament, to which you can invite your MEP.

[2] We are told that, using the IBAN, money can now be transferred between european countries for the domestic fee, thanks to a recent EU internal market harmonisation directive which can be enforced against banks.


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© 2003/05/19 EuroLinux
  
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