EuroLinux press release : Juridical Coup at the European Patent Office

Frederic Couchet fcouchet at
Wed Nov 7 11:22:05 UTC 2001

                             Juridical Coup at the European Patent Office
                        EuroLinux demands European governments to replace
                          the current board of the European Patent Office
                                     and to strengthen democratic control

                                                       EuroLinux Alliance


                           For immediate Release

   Munich, Paris. 2001-11-05 - Without waiting for the expected vote by
   the European Union of a directive on the patentatibility of software,
   the European Patent Office just published a new examination directive
   which extends the realm of the European patent practice to software,
   business methods and mathematics [1,2].

   This decision constitutes a violation of the European democracy and a
   provocation against European governments which had publicly stated
   last November 2000 that they wanted tighter political control over the
   European Patent Office and decided to preserve the exception for
   computer programmes. [3] This shameful and unacceptable decision also
   constitutes a violation of Article 22 of of the European Patent
   Convention which stipulates that only the Enlarged Board of Appeal may
   take decisions on significant patent policy issues. However, the
   European Patent Office has extended the realm of the European patent
   practice through hidden decisions of technical boards in order not to
   ask their opinion to European governments. The European Patent Office
   has tried to circumvent the democratic control of European Governments
   through adventurous administrative processes. The European Patent
   Office ignores its ruling authorities. [4] The European Patent Office
   scorns the 80% of software companies which are against software
   patents. [5, 6]

   EuroLinux demands that European governments act firmly.

   All projects of directive on the patentability of software, based on
   the opinion of European governments, and written by the General
   Directorate for Internal Market, require the European Patent Office to
   act in a controlable and sensible way. However, control and common
   sense do not seem to be appropriate terms for the current behaviour of
   the European Patent Office. Therefore, EuroLinux demands governments
     * clearly state their oppositioons to the patentability of software
       and intangible innovations,
     * demonstrate to the public opinion their ability to control the
       European Patent Office by replacing urgently the current board,
       responsible of repeated violations of the European Patent
       Convention and of the Diplomatic Conference.

   EuroLinux urges all companies, all software users and all citizens who
   whish to protect software innovation in Europe and free competition in
   the information society to join the 90.000 individual supporters and
   300 corporate supporters of our petition for a software patent free
   Europe [7].


   [1] EPO Press Release for the new examination rules for software -

   [2] New EPO examination rules for software -

   [3] EPO Press Release after the November 2001 conference 2001 -

   [4] Stealing with a Righteous Effect, a tale explaining how the EPO
   could patnet the unpatentable -

   [5] The Results of the European Commission Consultation Exercise -

   [6] Acceptable protection of software intellectual property: a survey
   of software developers and lawyers -

   [7] EuroLinux Petition -

About EuroLinux -

   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 Open Standards, Open Competition, Linux and Open Source
   Software. Companies members or supporters of EuroLinux develop or sell
   software under free, semi-free and non-free licenses for operating
   systems such as Linux, MacOS or Windows.

   The EuroLinux Alliance launched on 2000-06-15 an electronic petition
   to protect software innovation in Europe. The EuroLinux petition has
   received so far massive support from more than 90.000 European
   citizens, 2000 corporate managers and 300 companies.

   The EuroLinux Alliance has co-organised in 1999, together with the
   French Embassy in Japan, the first Europe-Japan conference on Linux
   and Free Software. The EuroLinux Alliance is at the initiative of the web site to promote and protect innovation and
   competition in the European IT industry.

   Press Contacts

   France & Europe: Jean-Paul Smets jp at +33-6 62 05 76 14
   Germany & Europe: Harmut Pilch phm at +49-89 127 89 608
   Denmark and Northern Europe: Anne Ƙstergaard aoe at
   Belgium: Nicolas Pettiaux nicolas.pettiaux at

   Permanent URL for this PR


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Petition contre les brevets logiciels
Frederic Couchet                     Tel: 06 60 68 89 31 / 01 49 22 67 89
Free Software Foundation Europe       

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