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  5. Software patents detrimental to European power supply business - December 6th, 2004
  6. </title>
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  8. <body>
  9. <center><h1>Software Patents in Europe</h1>
  10. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/swpat.html">Introduction</a> | <a
  11. href="/campaigns/swpat/background.html">Background</a> | <a
  12. href="/campaigns/swpat/status.html">Status</a> | <a
  13. href="/campaigns/swpat/documents.html">Further Reading</a> ]
  14. </center>
  15. <br />
  16. <center> Open Letter
  17. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20040510.html">2004-05-10</a>]
  18. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20040531.html">2004-05-31</a>]
  19. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20040706.html">2004-07-06</a>]
  20. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20040802.html">2004-08-02</a>]
  21. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20040906.html">2004-09-06</a>]
  22. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20041004.html">2004-10-04</a>]
  23. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20041101.html">2004-11-01</a>]
  24. [2004-12-06]
  25. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20050103.html">2005-01-03</a>]
  26. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20050207.html">2005-02-07</a>]
  27. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20050307.html">2005-03-07</a>]
  28. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20050405.html">2005-04-05</a>]
  29. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20050502.html">2005-05-02</a>]
  30. [<a href="/campaigns/swpat/letter-20050606.html">2005-06-06</a>]
  31. </center>
  32. <h2>
  33. Software patents detrimental to European power supply business
  34. </h2>
  35. <p>Open Letter to the President of the European electricity industry Hans Haider</p>
  36. <h3>December 6th, 2004</h3>
  37. <p>Dear Mr Haider,</p>
  38. <p>the European Union is on the way to introduce a legal basis for
  39. <a href="/campaigns/swpat/swpat.html">software patents</a>
  40. in Europe. While you may consider this a topic
  41. outside your daily business, it is likely to become the cause of
  42. serious security problems to European power supplies.</p>
  43. <p>The dependence of reliable power supplies on reliable software has
  44. steadily increased over the years and ever since the US-East Coast
  45. blackout of 2003 it has become a topic of public interest. Huge
  46. problems are often caused by small mistakes and thanks to networking
  47. effects, they can spread like wildfire, affecting huge areas.</p>
  48. <p>One of the ideas to counter such developments was recently
  49. <a href="http://scitation.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?prog=normal&amp;id=PRLTAO000093000009098701000001&amp;idtype=cvips&amp;gifs=Yes">
  50. proposed</a> by Adilson Enio Motter, guest scientist at the
  51. <a href="http://www.mpipks-dresden.mpg.de/">Max Planck</a> Institute for
  52. Complex Systems Physics: His proposal is to stop the problem spreading by
  53. selective shutdown of a few critical crosspoints.</p>
  54. <p>If the software patent directive is adopted in its current form, it
  55. would be possible to apply for a software patent on the so-called
  56. "control of cascade" -- regardless of whether the patentee has
  57. implemented a solution to the idea or not. Anyone who has a solution
  58. to implement this idea needs the permission of the patent holder,
  59. which the patent holder is able to give or refuse.</p>
  60. <p>There will be many other examples for ideas that fundamentally affect
  61. the security of software systems controlling the European power supply
  62. and software in general -- as the methods to make computer systems
  63. secure are limited. It is impossible to avoid software patents
  64. completely as computer programs contain thousands of ideas, all of
  65. which should be patentable according to the directive, you will most
  66. likely only learn of the particular patents once your solutions have
  67. entered the production environment and your legal department receives
  68. the bill.</p>
  69. <p>Not only does this contradict the draft directive on the security of our
  70. electricity supplies, which was passed by the European Council on
  71. <a href="http://www.euractiv.com/Article?tcmuri=tcm:29-131147-16&amp;type=LinksDossier">
  72. Monday 22nd of November 2004</a>, it would make each of the European
  73. power supply companies vulnerable to legal attacks by specialised
  74. software patent companies and law-firms seeking to maximise their
  75. revenue. This seems detrimental to Europe as a region and to the
  76. European power supply business, which is why we would like to ask for
  77. your support in our struggle against software patents in Europe. Please
  78. do not hesitate to contact us should you need further information.</p>
  79. <p>With kind regards,</p>
  80. <p>
  81. <a href="/about/greve/index.html">Georg Greve</a><br />
  82. President<br />
  83. Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)<br />
  84. <a href="/">fsfe.org</a>
  85. </p>
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