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