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  5. A compulsory insurance against software patents is like firefighting with
  6. petrol - November 1st, 2004
  7. </title>
  8. </head>
  9. <body>
  10. <center><h1>Software Patents in Europe</h1>
  11. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/swpat.html">Introduction</a> | <a
  12. href="/campaigns/swpat/background.html">Background</a> | <a
  13. href="/campaigns/swpat/status.html">Status</a> | <a
  14. href="/campaigns/swpat/documents.html">Further Reading</a> ]
  15. </center>
  16. <br />
  17. <center> Open Letter
  18. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20040510.html">2004-05-10</a>]
  19. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20040531.html">2004-05-31</a>]
  20. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20040706.html">2004-07-06</a>]
  21. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20040802.html">2004-08-02</a>]
  22. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20040906.html">2004-09-06</a>]
  23. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20041004.html">2004-10-04</a>]
  24. [2004-11-01]
  25. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20041206.html">2004-12-06</a>]
  26. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20050103.html">2005-01-03</a>]
  27. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20050207.html">2005-02-07</a>]
  28. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20050307.html">2005-03-07</a>]
  29. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20050405.html">2005-04-05</a>]
  30. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20050502.html">2005-05-02</a>]
  31. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20050606.html">2005-06-06</a>]
  32. </center>
  33. <h2>
  34. Firefighting with petrol
  35. </h2>
  36. <h3>November 1st, 2004</h3>
  37. <p>Dear Mr Barroso,</p>
  38. <p>
  39. The preceding European Commission (EC) was campaigning actively for the
  40. introduction of software patents in Europe. This campaign was against the
  41. information and evidence showing that this would lead to considerable
  42. risk to the European economies: On top of the
  43. <a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20040531.html">studies already known</a>,
  44. recent publications by
  45. <a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/15/pwc_swpat_are_a_threat/">Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC)</a>
  46. and
  47. <a href="http://www.dbresearch.com/PROD/DBR_INTERNET_EN-PROD/PROD0000000000175949.pdf">Deutsche Bank Research</a>
  48. further underlines the damaging consequences of software patents on
  49. Europe. As The Register quotes PwC: "The mild regime [...] in the past
  50. has led to a very innovative and competitive software industry with low
  51. entry barriers. A software patent, which serves to protect inventions of
  52. a non-technical nature, could kill the high innovation rate."
  53. </p>
  54. <p>
  55. The reality that software patents are becoming an innovation restriction
  56. may be one reason why all the parties in the German parliament objected
  57. to their introduction. This is the first time (which we are aware of)
  58. that all parties have objected in this way. Furthermore acknowledging the
  59. damaging effect of software patents, the latest idea of the parting
  60. European Commission is
  61. <a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/indprop/docs/patent/studies/litigation_en.pdf">compulsory insurance</a>
  62. to limit the damage.
  63. This insurance would apply to both defendants and patentees. When looking
  64. for examples of software patent litigation that this insurance should
  65. protect against, one does not have to look far: Eolas Technologies sued
  66. Microsoft because of the infringement of a software patent in 1999.
  67. Meanwhile - five years and remarkable legal expenses later - the US
  68. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has declared the patent invalid. There
  69. is no expert certain the patent would be upheld. Nevertheless Eolas
  70. declared they would keep fighting, there is no way to predict when this
  71. litigation will end. Eolas is continuing along this road without
  72. insurance against losing the lawsuit.
  73. </p>
  74. <p>
  75. In this sense, the planned compulsory insurance is like firefighting with
  76. petrol: We already have 30,000 software patents in Europe. Many
  77. compulsory insured patentees will consider the insurance as an investment
  78. they need a return on. Returns from software patents are reaped in
  79. lawsuits filed. The result: Rapidly exploding insurance premiums,
  80. insurance companies limiting their risk to what they can calculate, and
  81. in the end patentees and defendants will find themselves in a situation
  82. similar to one without compulsory insurance, but with one important
  83. difference: They will have spent an insane amount of money on a useless
  84. insurance and bureaucracy for its administration will have skyrocketed.
  85. With these developments, working on reducing bureaucracy in the European
  86. Commission will become a futile endeavour, but more importantly,
  87. innovations in the information society will be eliminated and Europe will
  88. not become a competitive knowlege based economy by 2010.
  89. </p>
  90. <p>
  91. We therefore ask you to please spare the European economy both the
  92. introduction of software patents (one of the most efficient road blocks
  93. to innovation and economic growth in the information society) and the
  94. madness of insurance against this needlessly created risk.
  95. </p>
  96. <p>With kind regards,</p>
  97. <p>
  98. <a href="/about/greve/">Georg Greve</a><br />
  99. President<br />
  100. Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)<br />
  101. <a href="/">fsfe.org</a>
  102. </p>
  103. </body>
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