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  5. <title>Allianz Group will suffer because of software patents - October 4th, 2004</title>
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  8. <center><h1>Software Patents in Europe</h1>
  9. [<a href="/activities/swpat/swpat.html">Introduction</a> | <a
  10. href="/activities/swpat/background.html">Background</a> | <a
  11. href="/activities/swpat/status.html">Status</a> | <a
  12. href="/activities/swpat/documents.html">Further Reading</a> ]
  13. </center>
  14. <br />
  15. <center> Open Letter
  16. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20040510.html">2004-05-10</a>]
  17. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20040531.html">2004-05-31</a>]
  18. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20040706.html">2004-07-06</a>]
  19. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20040802.html">2004-08-02</a>]
  20. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20040906.html">2004-09-06</a>]
  21. [2004-10-04]
  22. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20041101.html">2004-11-01</a>]
  23. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20041206.html">2004-12-06</a>]
  24. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20050103.html">2005-01-03</a>]
  25. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20050207.html">2005-02-07</a>]
  26. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20050307.html">2005-03-07</a>]
  27. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20050405.html">2005-04-05</a>]
  28. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20050502.html">2005-05-02</a>]
  29. [<a href="/activities/swpat/letter-20050606.html">2005-06-06</a>]
  30. </center>
  31. <h2>Allianz Group will suffer because of software patents</h2>
  32. <h3>October 4th, 2004</h3>
  33. <p>Dear Mr. Diekmann,</p>
  34. <p>
  35. Have you ever considered offering general insurance for stock brokers
  36. against the risk of losing money? As absurd as this sounds, the European
  37. Commission is seriously considering equivalent measures at the moment.
  38. </p>
  39. <p>
  40. The European Council and the European Commission seek to introduce
  41. software patents in Europe. This is not only threatening any company
  42. doing business in Europe, <a
  43. href="https://lists.fsfe.org/pipermail/press-release-de/2004q2/000030.html">a
  44. number of international scientists</a> also see it as a grave risk to
  45. European economies. Adding to the studies already known, recent
  46. publications by <a
  47. href="http://www.pwc.com/Extweb/pwcpublications.nsf/docid/EC6DE73A846581CE80256EFD002E41FB">Pricewaterhouse
  48. Coopers (PwC)</a> and <a
  49. href="http://www.dbresearch.com/PROD/DBR_INTERNET_EN-PROD/PROD0000000000175949.pdf">Deutsche
  50. Bank Research</a> further underline the damaging
  51. effect of software patents. As <a
  52. href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/15/pwc_swpat_are_a_threat/">The
  53. Register</a> quotes PwC: "The mild regime [...] in the past has led to
  54. a very innovative and competitive software industry
  55. with low entry barriers. A software patent, which serves to protect
  56. inventions of a non-technical nature, could kill the high innovation
  57. rate."
  58. </p>
  59. <p>
  60. The reality of software patents is well-known for its purely
  61. speculative character. Although generally endorsed by noble goals such
  62. as promoting innovation, studies from the <a
  63. href="http://www.researchoninnovation.org/patent.pdf">Massachusetts
  64. Institute of Technology (MIT)</a> or the <a
  65. href="http://swpat.ffii.org/archiv/zitate/index.de.html#mopoko0207">German
  66. monopoly commission</a> show that software patents are harmful to
  67. innovation.
  68. </p>
  69. <p>
  70. Software patent applications could be considered like the chips that
  71. are bet on a roulette table that -- if successful -- will win you the
  72. jackpot in form of a multi-billion Euro litigation. Any large
  73. corporation making use of software could find itself on the receiving
  74. end of such a bet. The more money at play and the more software used,
  75. the higher the chance of being targeted. Valuable companies such as
  76. Allianz group -- which are in the main dependent on software revenues
  77. are especially at risk of being adversely affected by the legalisation
  78. of software patents in the EU.
  79. </p>
  80. <p>
  81. While I believe the plans of the European Commission should already
  82. have you quite worried, the current plans are going to affect you in
  83. another aspect, as well.
  84. </p>
  85. <p>
  86. Having to acknowledge the harmful and potentially devastating effect
  87. of software patents on European companies and national economies, the
  88. European Commission recently introduced the idea of another directive
  89. aimed at creating a
  90. <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/indprop/docs/patent/studies/litigation_en.pdf">compulsory insurance</a>
  91. against software patents for all European enterprises. This insurance
  92. should obviously be cheap enough so that it does not immediately kill
  93. the European economy altogether.
  94. </p>
  95. <p>
  96. You, as CEO of Allianz Group will have to insure your enterprise,
  97. because you are at risk of being the target of a multi-billion Euro
  98. software patent litigation. This is essentially the same as asking for
  99. cheap compulsory insurance of all stock brokers against losing money
  100. -- and we are certain that you see the flaw in that logic.
  101. </p>
  102. <p>
  103. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this problem with you
  104. further, but now time is of the essence. The European Council is
  105. planning to decide in November and the European Parliament will then
  106. have to make a final decision early next year.
  107. </p>
  108. <p>With kind regards,</p>
  109. <p>
  110. <a href="/about/people/greve/">Georg Greve</a><br />
  111. President<br />
  112. Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)<br />
  113. <a href="/">fsfe.org</a>
  114. </p>
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