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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
  2. <html>
  3. <version>1</version>
  4. <head>
  5. <title>
  6. Europe should conserve a competitive advantage and prohibit a legal basis
  7. for software patents - September 6th, 2004
  8. </title>
  9. </head>
  10. <body>
  11. <center><h1>Software Patents in Europe</h1>
  12. [<a href="/activities/swpat/swpat.html">Introduction</a> | <a
  13. href="/activities/swpat/background.html">Background</a> | <a
  14. href="/activities/swpat/status.html">Status</a> | <a
  15. href="/activities/swpat/documents.html">Further Reading</a> ]
  16. </center>
  17. <br />
  18. <center> Open Letter
  19. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20040510.html">2004-05-10</a>]
  20. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20040531.html">2004-05-31</a>]
  21. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20040706.html">2004-07-06</a>]
  22. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20040802.html">2004-08-02</a>]
  23. [2004-09-06]
  24. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20041004.html">2004-10-04</a>]
  25. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20041101.html">2004-11-01</a>]
  26. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20041206.html">2004-12-06</a>]
  27. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20050103.html">2005-01-03</a>]
  28. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20050207.html">2005-02-07</a>]
  29. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20050307.html">2005-03-07</a>]
  30. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20050405.html">2005-04-05</a>]
  31. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20050502.html">2005-05-02</a>]
  32. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20050606.html">2005-06-06</a>]
  33. </center>
  34. <h2>
  35. No software patents, conserve competitive advantage!
  36. </h2>
  37. <h3>September 6th, 2004</h3>
  38. <p>
  39. Dear Prime Minister,<br />
  40. Dear Dr. Balkenende,
  41. </p>
  42. <p>
  43. The new Commission of the European Union would like to speed up the
  44. "Lisbon"-Process to make Europe the "most competitive knowledge-based
  45. economy by 2010". This is a reasonable aim which is worthy of support
  46. by European citizens. However, the EU is considering legislation which
  47. will have adverse effects on the software market. We - the Free
  48. Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) - would like to call your attention
  49. to this important issue. With your help it may be possible to avoid
  50. this problem before it gets off the ground in the EU.
  51. </p>
  52. <p>
  53. Software patents are used to hinder competitors software innovation.
  54. This is the sole reason that a virtual waste paper basket is patented,
  55. the incorporation of applications into a website is patented, and or
  56. the ordering of gifts via the internet is patented. These ideas are not
  57. very innovative, but they are necessary to make the whole application
  58. run and be usable by anybody. It is just the same as with a car: To get
  59. access to the real innovations you need to use trivial features such as
  60. a steering wheel.
  61. </p>
  62. <p>
  63. In the last few weeks we have seen what happens to project management
  64. in business and public administration because of a demanding project,
  65. such as in Munich. A member of the city council feared that the project
  66. might infringe a patent - and the project got into trouble for a whole
  67. week, although software giants IBM are interested in managing this
  68. project because of its international prestige. This was paralleled
  69. worldwide, as similar projects are supposedly threatened as well.
  70. </p>
  71. <p>
  72. From now on any introduction of SAP will be in danger. The same way it
  73. might get impossible to implement additional security features to
  74. eliminate a bug in a web server - because there might at any time be
  75. someone who speculates whether the ideas behind the implementation are
  76. "protected" by software patents. For these reasons voices in the US
  77. would like to get rid of the innovation blockade which are "software
  78. patents".
  79. </p>
  80. <p>
  81. 30,000 software patents already exist in the EU; this contradicts the
  82. spirit of the present patent law in the EU. Three quarters of software
  83. patents are held by non-European companies. To give software patents a
  84. legal basis may be a decision which would make the EU far less
  85. competitive. That is why we would like to ask the European Council to
  86. revise its agreement on software patents of May 18th. Instead the
  87. Council should decide to make sure innovation can take place and not be
  88. restricted by software patents in the future.
  89. </p>
  90. <p>
  91. During the dutch Presidency of the European Union you have the best
  92. opportunity to initiate this revision. In the interest of Europe you
  93. should not hesitate to make this revision.
  94. </p>
  95. <p>Yours sincerely</p>
  96. <p>
  97. Georg Greve<br />
  98. President<br />
  99. Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)
  100. </p>
  101. </body>
  102. </html>
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