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Yesterday three groups in the European Parliament (PES, Greens/EFA, GUE/NGL) announced their motion for a resolution on patent policy. I published their press release earlier today on this Web site.
In parallel, the Independence/Democracy group in the European Parliament (commonly abbreviated as ID or IND/DEM) filed this motion for a resolution on patent policy. The motion was put forward by Tom Wise, an MEP from the UK Independence Party who spoke out in strong terms against the software patent directive.
The ID motion is[Read more...]
Three groups in the European Parliament (i.e., international-level parties) yesterday authorized me to distribute the press release below to my media contacts:
European patent controversy heating up again
PES, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL groups in European Parliament file motion for resolution — Proposal calls for “balance between the interests of patent holders and the broader public interest in innovation and competitive markets” — Commissioner McCreevy’s preference, the EPLA, is seen as weakening EU democracy, increasing litigation costs and “exposing SMEs to greater[Read more...]
On Friday, EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy (whose historical ties with Microsoft and similar companies are mentioned in my book) delivered this speech on his intellectual property rights (IPR) strategy. He flew all the way up to Helsinki for an informal meeting of the ECOFIN (economic & finance) Council of the European Union.
In his speech, he said the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) “is a goal worth pursuing” and that he wanted to involve the EU in the EPLA negotiations “and bring them to finality”. He falsely claims that the EPLA would “offer valuable cost savings”: even Nokia[Read more...]
I fixed a couple of typos in my book No Lobbyists As Such - The War over Software Patents in the European Union. Thanks to Marco Menardi for having pointed me to those typos.
I have previously reported in this blog how certain European politicians and patent bureaucrats are trying, once again, to give software patents a stronger legal basis in Europe. On 12 July, the European Commission held a public hearing in Brussels, and the European Parliament is shooting for a vote on a patent policy resolution toward the end of this month.
If you’d like to know why the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) is, among other bad things, a road to software patents, please have a look at this two-page diagram (PDF file). And if you’re subsequently interested in some more background information and facts, this three-page briefing document[Read more...]
As I explained in this blog, it’s always a difficult decision for me to keep postponing my own project in order to work on the patent policy front. But once again, like so many times before, I have decided to do so for some more time. Given what happened at the July 12 hearing, there are some important things to do right away. I’ll talk a little more about my personal future on some other occasion, but suffice it to say that I’m still actively involved in the European patent policy debate!
After I mentioned in this blog posting a week ago that I’d make an announcement on August 28 concerning my future priorities, I received different reactions. Mostly there seems to be a lot of understanding and appreciation for what I’ve contributed to the fight for balanced patent policy, and that’s great. But some people misunderstood my remark: the decision hasn’t been taken yet, and it’s not an appropriate point in time to say which outcome is more likely because a lot can still happen in one week. Come August 28, I’ll decide and announce.
What transpired from of the responses isn’t really a surprise: to many people I’m simply “Mr. NoSoftwarePatents” because that’s the context in which they first came to know me.[Read more...]
I just saw this article:
It quotes from the personal (not corporate!) blog of Simon Phipps, Sun’s chief open source executive. The first time I heard Simon speak out on patents was in November 2004 at an FFII conference in Brussels. A couple of months earlier, I had criticized him in the forum of NoSoftwarePatents.com in a way that I later on regretted. Even though the NoSoftwarePatents campaign was highly successful, there are three or four things that I shouldn’t have said or written during those days, and what I said about Simon’s credibility has the top spot among that list of[Read more...]
On August 28 — i.e., in two weeks from tomorrow — the European Parliament will return from its summer vacation. You can find the EP’s calendar here: There are different color codes, and those days which have no color at all are holidays and vacation days.
While the EP is not the only EU institution, it’s clearly one of the most important ones, and its return marks the end of what is usually the slowest part of the summer season in Brussels. Upon its return, the parliament is going to take a look at patent policy again, and is in particular going to evaluate the outcome of the European Commission’s patent policy hearing that took place in Brussels on July 12. In late May, several[Read more...]
I just saw this article on how Linus Torvalds on the one hand and Hewlett-Packard on the other hand reacted to the Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) second draft of its GPL v3 license.
Just like Linus, I, too, have said all along that digital rights management (DRM) is not categorically illegitimate and thus must not be ostracized as a whole. While Linus still seems dissatisfied with the FSF’s proposed GPLv3 in this respect, the aforementioned article quotes Hewlett-Packard (HP) saying that based on a preliminary analysis, there’s been a lot of progress on that front.
But the article also reports that HP wants the FSF to soften its stance on patents. I can only hope that the FSF will continue to stand firm on this issue. It’s obvious that certain[Read more...]
A couple of days before Wednesday’s European Commission hearing, I learned that Managing Intellectual Property magazine, the leading international magazine for IP owners which has more than 10,000 readers around the globe, renominated me to its annual list of the “top 50 most influential persons in intellectual property”.
The first time I appeared on that who-is-who list was a year ago, and ZDNet reported on that fact under the humorous headline “Anti-patent campaigner hailed as IP hero”.[Read more...]
- PRESS RELEASE -
DAY ONE OF NEW EU PATENT WAR:
EU COMMISSION PUSHES FOR LITIGATION AGREEMENT
EU internal market commissioner McCreevy said at yesterday’s hearing
on the future of European patent policy in Brussels that he wants to
“move forward” with the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) -
Anti-software patent campaigners vehemently oppose the EPLA,
claiming it is “from a software patents point of view […] far worse”
than the directive they defeated in the European Parliament last year
Brussels (July 13, 2006) - At yesterday’s European Commission hearing in Brussels on the future of European patent policy ([Read more...]
As I explained in my previous blog entry, EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy is going to announce pretty soon that he wants to help to get the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) ratified. The EPLA is a new attempt to make software and business method patents more enforceable in Europe, and beyond that effect, it would generally encourage certain types of patent holders to litigate.
But there’s a technical problem (”technical” in terms of “legally technical”): The European Commission’s legal services say the EPLA is a so-called “mixed agreement” that the member states of the EU cannot conclude on their own: they need the EU involved. To be very precise, it’s not the EU (European Union), but the EC (European[Read more...]
Superficially, it appears that the European Commission is going to evaluate the 2,500+ replies it received to its January 2006 questionnaire on patent policy as well as the input it will receive at this coming Wednesday’s (July 12) hearing prior to deciding how to move forward in the area of patent policy.
However, it would be naive to believe there is even the smallest doubt as to what EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy intends to do. He has decided on that a long time ago, at least a number of months, possibly as early as last fall.
McCreevy has a new game plan after his failure to push the software patent directive through last year. That directive was not his baby originally:[Read more...]
Yesterday I published the text of the short speech I’m going to give at the European Commission’s patent policy hearing on Wednesday (July 12). I think I should explain to the non-politicos among you what the term “hearing” means in this context.
Governments, quasi-governmental bodies (which is how I’d describe the European Commission, non-judgmentally) and legislators (for the most part, that means parliaments or subsets of a parliament, such as a committee or a party) frequently conduct hearings. At a hearing on a particular topic (in this case, patent policy), politicians and their staffs listen to people who are, personally or professionally, affected by a future[Read more...]
This coming Wednesday (July 12), I am going to speak during the litigation part of the European Commission’s patent policy hearing in Brussels. The hearing marks the end of a consultation process that began in January when the Commission published a questionnaire, in reply to which I wrote a position paper. At the hearing I am going to deliver the following short speech:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Some of you may already know me as the founder of the NoSoftwarePatents campaign, but let me start by introducing myself a little more specifically. I’m an[Read more...]
In my previous blog article, I mentioned the fact that Red Hat’s deputy general counsel, Mark Webbink, lobbied in the European Parliament on July 5, 2005 (the day before the EP’s decisive vote to reject the software patent bill) to keep the software patent directive alive.
I had not anticipated the kind of Internet debate that this statement would trigger, including some insulting emails that were sent to me, and least of all I would have expected Mark Webbink to call into question the “veracity of [my] statements”, which is what he did in the discussion below this LWN.net article. He knows exactly what he did.
The word “motivations” also appears in that posting. It’s really[Read more...]
The Patently-O blog reported yesterday that a software company named FireStar has sued Red Hat over an alleged patent infringement. Patently-O also provides the complaint and the patent document, and quotes from Red Hat’s patent policy. The FireStar suit relates to a piece of software that Red Hat acquired as part of JBoss Inc.’s intellectual property.
It seems to me that the FireStar patent is quite broad, and if it is upheld, it will affect other companies as well. While I know that certain parts of the free and open source software (FOSS) community don’t like to hear this, I have repeatedly stated that FOSS projects and products are particularly threatened by software patents. In this[Read more...]
Today I uploaded version 1.01 of my e-book, No Lobbyists As Such - The War over Software Patents in the European Union. I just corrected a few minor errors and would like to express my gratitude for the corrections submitted by Alberto Barrionuevo and Péter Somogyi.
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