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Dtails sur la Ptition

2000 IT bosses say NO to EU software patents, call for rejection of
McCarthy software patent directive proposal

Brussels, Munich, Amsterdam 2003/06/22

For immediate Release

A "Petition for a Free Europe without Software Patents" has gained
more than 150000 signatures. Among the supporters are more than 2000
company owners and chief executives and 25000 developpers and
engineers from all sectors of the European information and
telecommunication industries, as well as more than 2000 scientists and
180 lawyers. Companies like Siemens, IBM, Alcatel and Nokia lead the
list of those whose researchers and developpers want to protect
programming freedom and copyright property against what they see as a
"patent landgrab". Currently the patent policy of some of these
companies is still dominated by their patent departments, who have
intensively lobbied the European Parliament to support a proposal to
allow patentability of "computer-implemented inventions" (patent newspeak
for "software", i.e. algorithms and business methods described in
terms of generic computing equipment), which the rapporteur, UK Labour MEP
Arlene McCarthy, backed by "patent experts" from the socialist and
conservative blocks, is trying to rush through the European Parliament
on June 30, just 13 days after she had won the vote in the Legal
Affairs Committe (JURI).


The European Parliament parliament's plenary will decide on a draft
report on the European Commission's software patentability directive
proposal COM(2002)92. Hartmut Pilch explains on behalf of Eurolinux,
an alliance of associations and companies from all European countries
and all sectors of the European software industry:

If the European Parliament accepts this report, even with
amendments, it will not only find itself in complete contradiction
with public opinion, as expressed in the largest online petition on
IT matters which the world has seen so far. It would also be in
contradiction with its own proclaimed aims. The result of passing
the McCarthy Directive Proposal would be that "Amazon One Click
Shopping" indisputably becomes a patentable invention, and that
more than 20000 broad and trivial software and business method
patents, which have been granted by the European Patent Office
(EPO) against the letter and spirit of the written law, will no
longer be contestable in court, except with rock-solid evidence of
prior art.

"Now it is up to the European Parliament to decide on a highly
controversial proposal for a directive for software patents. The JURI
proposal aims at improving clarity. It should have at last defined
clearly what is patentable and what not. But in reality it is a bunch
of magic formulas that even legal experts do not understand. In
particular for small and medium sized software developers it is a
disaster. A patent infringement claim can ruin such a company. It is
to be hoped that the European Parliament understands this if they vote
about the proposed directive in a few days." says Reinier Bakels from
the Insitute for Information Law of Amsterdam University, author of a
parliament-ordered study, which JURI chose to ignore completely. Dr.
Karl Friedrich Lenz, professor of European Law in Tokyo, comments:

If the European Parliament follows JURI in ignoring public opinion
and all scientific studies, we will see large license payments from
the European to the American software industry, lots of litigation
based on software patents, Internet patents and business method
patents, and some very unfavorable effects for open source
software. And introducing a large number of new monopoly rights in
the information society sector certainly won't help with the EU
strategic goal "to become the most competitive and knowledge-based
economy in the world."

see also [13]JURI votes for Fake Limits on Patentability

Statistics of signatories

By profession / position in company

Since the wording in the entry "profession" is free for everyone to
chose, aggregation was difficult. We can only state minimal numbers

position number (minimum)
company owner, chief executive (CEO), managing director 2000
CTO, head of IT, head of R&D 2100
programmer, software/system architect/engineer/designer/analyst 23000
scientist, researcher etc 2600
professor (mainly computer science, mathematics, physics) 400
lawyer 180

By country

Germany 29773
France 27047
Spain 13120
Italy 9673
United Kingdom 9385
Denmark 5141
Netherlands 5041
Belgium 4587
Sweden 4355
Poland 3195
Austria 3262
Switzerland 3090
Finnland 2732
Czechia 1503
Norway 1497
Hungary 1386
Portugal 1128
Ireland 911
Greece 563
Luxemburg 287

By company

Below you find the number of employees of some major companies and
institutions who signed the petition. Note that 2/3 of the signatories
did not specify their employer.

[17]Siemens 231
[18]CNRS 220
[19]IBM 156
[20]INRIA 114
Cap Gemini Ernst & Young 108
[21]Alcatel 99
France Telecom 97
[22]Ericsson 94
Epita 92
Hewlett Packard (HP) 85
Helsinki University of Technology 78
[23]Nokia 74
RWTH Aachen (Aachen Technical University) 78
SuSE? 67
ETH Zurich (Zurich Technical University) 61
Deutsche Telekom AG 59
[24]Sun Microsystems 58
University of Cambridge 56
[25]Philips 54
University of Helsinki 53
EDS 50
Compaq 42
[26]SAP 44
ST Microelectronics 42
Telefonica 31
Steria 30
Politecnico di Milano 29
Oxford University 29
Motorola 29
ABB 28
Renault 28
Lucent 27
Nortel 37
Alcve 26
ATOS Origin 59
Belgacom 25
Getronics 25
Transiciel 23
Nevrax 23
Red Hat 32
Cisco Systems 21
innominate 21
[27]Thales 21
DaimlerChrysler? 20
altran 20
T-Systems 20
BMW 19
BULL 19 18
Accenture 18
Sema Group 17
Air France 16
Alplog 15
Sony 15
Telecom 15
Lufthansa 15
Schlumberger 14
[28]Microsoft 14
Andersen Consulting 13
Oracle 13
Intel 13
Amadeus 13
Epitech 13
Vodafone 13
AT&T 12
British Telecom 12
Unisys 12
NCC 11
debis Systemhaus 21
Infineon 11
Mobilix 11
Fujitsu Siemens Computers 11
KPNQwest 10
Atrid 10
Easter-eggs 10
Bosch 10
SOT Finnish Software Engineering Ltd. 10

Media Contact

media at ffii org

Hartmut Pilch +49-89-18979927

More Contacts to be supplied upon request

About the Eurolinux Alliance --

The EuroLinux Alliance for a Free Information Infrastructure is an
open coalition of commercial companies and non-profit associations
united to promote and protect a vigourous European Software Culture
based on copyright, open standards, open competition and open source
software such as Linux. Corporate members or sponsors of EuroLinux
develop or sell software under free, semi-free and non-free licenses
for operating systems such as GNU/Linux, MacOS? or MS Windows.

About the FFII --

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) is a
non-profit association registered in Munich, which is dedicated to the
spread of data processing literacy. FFII supports the development of
public information goods based on copyright, free competition, open
standards. More than 200 members, 180 companies and 12000 individual
supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public
policy questions in the area of software property law.

URL of this Press Release

Annotated Links

-> [29]CEC/ETLA 2002: Technology policy in the telecommunication
sector -- Market responses and economic impacts
This study may explain while so many employees of telecom
giants and related companies support the Petition for a Free
Europe without Software Patents.


18. http://www.cnrs/
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