Software patents campaigners honoured

Software patents campaigners honoured

Summary: The FFII and have picked up an award for outstanding contribution to software development for their work in blocking European patent legislation, at the CNET Networks UK Technology Awards


Two of the main movers behind the campaign to block European legislation to bring in software patents were hailed on Tuesday night when they won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Software Development at the CNET Networks UK Technology Awards.

Florian Mueller of and Rufus Pollock of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) received their awards in front of an audience of IT professionals from across the industry at the London Hilton on Park Lane.

The European Parliament unexpectedly rejected the directive in July this year, a victory which was attributed by many to the tireless work of both the FFII and

"We're software developers ourselves, so it feels great to be recognised for our contribution to our profession," said Mueller after receiving the award.

"What I most appreciated was the cheer when I went up," said Pollock. "I think that's because this is a victory for everyone. Stopping software patents was about protecting innovation. I think that's why everyone cheered."

The award was one of 15 given out on Tuesday night. The judging panel included Bruce Perens, one of the leading lights of the open source community.

Mueller campaigned against the software patent directive for many months, until he returned to work as a software developer in March this year.

As one of the key figures in the anti-patent campaign, he advised politicians about the directive and spoke at events across Europe.


Mueller was responsible for a high-profile campaign in which Linux founder Linus Torvalds, MySQL co-founder Michael Widenius and PHP creator Rasmus Lerdorf spoke out against the European directive. He also led the campaign calling for a recount of the EU Council's vote on the directive after a change in the voting weights of EU members meant that those supporting the directive no longer had a majority vote.

Pollock claims to have only slept two hours the night before the vote, which followed three months of voluntary campaigning taking up between 20 and 30 hours of his time each week. He said he made this commitment because he feels so strongly about the issue.

Full List Of Winners

Public Sector Technology Project of the Year

Winner: Ashford Borough Council
Finalists: Islington Council in partnership with Cityspace Ltd 'Technology Mile'
The Causeway Programme
Truancy Call
West Yorkshire Police

Financial Services Technology Project of the Year

Winner: Chase de Vere Financial Solutions plc – Moneyextra
Finalists: BNP Paribas' DataSynapse Grid Project
JP Morgan Chase
Royal Bank of Scotland - Group Technology

Retail/Leisure Sector Technology Project of the Year

Winner: British Airways
Finalists: Dominos Pizza / AKQA
Eagle Eye Solutions - 'BuyMeABeer'
Christopher Milton Stevens Ltd / E-Register
Harvey Nichols / Websense

Telecommunications Sector Technology Project of the Year

Winner: T-Mobile (UK) Ltd
Finalists: Caudwell Communications
O2 Ireland
Skype Technologies

Infrastructure Technology Product of the Year

Winner: XenSource, Inc.
Finalists: ClearCube Technology
IBM - IBM eServer iSeries
Red Hat - Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4
Zeus Technology - Zeus Extensible Traffic Manager

Mobile Product or Initiative of the Year

Winner: Colubris Networks / Connexion by Boeing
Finalists: Leeds City Council
Research in Motion

Networking/Storage Product of the Year

Winner: Aruba Networks
Finalists: IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller
Quest Software
Sandvine Incorporated

Security Product of the Year

Winner: Qualys
Finalists: Avoco Secure
Centennial Software - DeviceWall

Open Source Initiative of the Year

Winner: XenSource, Inc.
Finalists: Cutter Project Ltd
Jboss Inc
Openexchange Inc

Outstanding Contribution to Software Development

Winner: & The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII)
Finalists: Eclipse Project
Jumar Solutions Europe Ltd
CollabNet Inc
Transitive Ltd

Technology PR Campaign of the Year

Winner: Chameleon PR - SpinVox
Finalists: Bite Communications - Apple Computer
Brands2Life - WebEx
Cow PR! - Yahoo! Mail
Fuse PR - Eleksen

Technology Marketing Campaign of the Year

Winner: AKQA - Nike
Finalists: Blue Coat Systems
Mason Zimbler - Conchango
Worth - Viatel

CIO of the Year

Winner Al-Noor Ramji - BT Group Plc
Finalists Allan W Paterson - Isle of Man Government
Guy Mason - English, Welsh and Scottish Railways Limited.
JP Rangaswami - Dresdner KleinWort Wasserstein
Luke Mellors - The Dorchester

Outstanding Contribution to the UK Technology Industry

Winner: Sir Terry Matthews, Chief Executive, Mitel Networks
Finalists: Rod Aldridge, Chief Executive, Capita
Steve Linford, Founder, SpamHaus;
Mike Lynch, Founder and Chief Executive, Autonomy
Andrew Black, Chief Executive, Betfair
Sir Alan Sugar, Chief Executive, Amstrad
Niklas Zennstrom, Chief Executive and Co-Founder, Skype
Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive, BT
Jonathan Ive, VP of Industrial Design, Apple
Sir Robin Saxby, Chairman, ARM Holdings plc
Mark Blanford, Founder and Executive Director,
John O'Connell, Chairman, Princes Trust Technology Leadership Group

Topics: Apps, Software Development


Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

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  • Kudos! But it's not over yet. The sw patent lobby will (is) likely very active right now. The question is where and how it is currently working.

    The European Patent Convention from 1972 excludes software from patents. However, it is apparent that stronger wording is needed to re-inforce this decision.

    Software is already covered by copyright and adding patents to the mix will only cause trouble for business and end-users who *use* software.
  • The CII directive is dead, but now the focus must move on the the European Patents Project. We must ensure that software patents do not sneak in through this measure.

    Furthermore I believe that we must take a positive stand to IMPROVE patent quality. The anti-software patents movement (of which I am a member, both FFII and NoSoftwarePatents) is not necessarily against ALL patenting. Patents are wrong for software but right for inventions. I will certainly be advocating this view to both FFII and NSP.

    I feel that we need to guide the new patent projects in this direction so that developers are not stymied as in the US but true inventors can achieve protection for their inventive efforts.
  • see
  • Users are affected more than developers by sw patents.