Anti-patent campaigner hailed as IP hero

A campaigner against the European software patent directive has made it onto a list of most powerful people involved in intellectual property, along with the leaders of some of the most powerful pro-patent organisations

A prominent campaigner against software patents in Europe has been hailed as one of the most influential people in the intellectual-property (IP) world by a magazine for IP lawyers.

Managing Intellectual Property  (MIP), which claims that about three quarters of its 10,000 readers are "senior in-house counsel in multinational companies", has listed Florian Mueller, the founder of an anti-patent Web site, in its annual list of the 50 most powerful people involved in intellectual property.

The list also includes Wu Yi, the Chinese vice-premier; Francis Gurry, the deputy director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization; Alain Pompidou, the president of the European Patent Office; EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy; Marshall Phelps, the head of IP at Microsoft; and James Dyson, the inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner.

Mueller campaigned against the software patent directive for many months, until March this year, when he made a personal decision to return to his original job as a software developer. MIP claimed that Mueller "could claim at least some of the credit" for the rejection of the patent directive earlier this month.

Mueller said he was pleased about making this list, particularly as his background and viewpoint is different to many of the other nominees.

"Obviously I'm proud of this nomination because there are some high-profile people on that list," he said. "I'm probably the only one on the list without a law degree; I am likely the only one who ever got there after only one year of working in the field; and I'm the only critic of software patents on the list."

The full list of the top 50 IP figures is available online.