Lobbyists prepare for next software patent battle

Lobbyists prepare for next software patent battle

Summary: This time the debate around software patents in Europe is going to be 'bigger and more complex' according to an anti-patent campaigner

TOPICS: Government UK

Pro-patent companies and lobby groups are getting ready for the European Commission's next attempt to change the law around patents.

Last year, the directive on the patentability of computer implemented inventions, commonly known as the software patent directive, was rejected by the European Parliament.

But the debate around software patents has now reopened, with the EC's launch of a public consultation into how the patent system should be changed. Although this consultation does not mention software patents directly, there are fears that the Community Patent legislation could ratify the European Patent Office's current practice of granting software patents.

Guenther Schmalz, SAP's European director of IP, said last week that supporters of software patents plan to lobby the EU more effectively this time around, after last year's setback, according to news site Intellectual Property Watch.

"It's starting again," Schmalz reportedly said at a conference held by pro-patent organisation Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF). "And I hope this time we will be better prepared."

The conference was also attended by other pro-patent companies and groups, including Microsoft and the Association for Competitive Technology.

Florian Mueller, the founder of Nosoftwarepatents.com and a key campaigner against last year's directive, said the next battle over software patents could be more difficult to fight than the last.

"The new patent fight is going to be bigger and more complex because the Commission appears to be looking at the introduction of a community patent, the harmonisation of substantive law, that is, what can and cannot be patented, a streamlining of the judicial system and possibly also some patent quality initiatives," he said.

Although Mueller stopped campaigning full-time against software patents early last year to concentrate on other projects, he said that he may consider returning.

"I can imagine becoming involved again if medium-sized IT companies are prepared to provide a much more significant war chest this time around. We'll definitely need more resources than the last time," he said.

Topic: Government UK

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  • In the "Intellectual Property Watch" article ( at http://xrl.us/jo5b ), SAP's IP Director, Guenther Schmalz, is reported as saying,
  • Download the document and email them a reply.

    There is an "Any other comments" at the end of the document. State your case there in clear and polite terms.

    I have responded as follows:

    5.5 As an entrepreneur, engineer and trainer in the Free and Open Source Software industry, I would urge the EU to move away from trying to apply the patent system to software systems. It is the wrong system. It will allow the big guys to monopolise the industry and kill off the ability of the EU to compete on the world stage, India and the far east will take the fore and we will lose. It is that simple.
  • I care little for yet another inventory of facts however well intented. Fact is that it's nothing more then yet another oppurtunity to get the wrong foot between the wrong door a little further. The only effort I want to see is the shutting locked of that door and throwing away the key. Foot inserted or not.

    Self interested lobbying already cost the splitting of the EU. As such the beginnings of a great new economical power got hand tied. Allowing self interested lobbying to continue to wreck havoc amongst our clueless politicians and burocrats is costing us more then just wasting tax money on endless software patents or not discussions.
  • Important point is missed

    And this point is that it's almost impossible to defend a software patent anyway.

    Best Regards.
    Contact email:hrjnngco@macs.biu.ac.il