Petition to stop software patents in Europe

Giacomo Poderi poderi1980 at
Wed Oct 22 07:45:32 UTC 2008

Hi all,

This is the link to a new campaign/petition against Swpat in Europe.

Please read it and, if you deem it proper, sign it and circulate the 
link wherever possible/appropriate.



Our petition aims to unify the voices of concerned Europeans, 
associations and companies, and calls on our politicians in Europe to 
stop patents on software with legislative clarifications.

The patent system is misused to restrain competition for the economical 
benefit of a few but fails to promote innovation. A software market 
environment is better off with no patents on software at all. Healthy 
competition forces market players to innovate.

European court decisions still accept in many cases the validity of the 
software patents granted by national patent offices and the European 
Patent Office (EPO) that is beyond democratic control. They not only 
continue to grant them, but also to lobby in favor of them. Despite the 
current deep crisis of the patent system, they are unable to reform and 
put at risk too many European businesses with their soft granting policy.

On 2005 the Commission appeared to be more supportive to the interests 
of major international conglomerates than of small and medium sized 
enterprises from Europe - who are a major driving force behind European 
innovation. The European Parliament rejected at the end the software 
patent directive, but has no rights for legislative initiatives.

A large number of serious scientific and economic studies justify ruling 
out patents on software.
Copyright for software, but no patents

Software authors are already protected by copyright law, allowing others 
to innovate in the same space generating healthy competition, but this 
protection is undermined by patents on software. It is far too easy to 
violate patents on software whilst being completely unaware of any 
transgression. Software companies do not use and do not need the patent 
system to innovate. They must be protected from owners of dubious 
granted patents.
Litigation instead of innovation

Software patents miss their legitimate purpose. Patents on software 
favour litigation in detriment of innovation, defeating their democratic 
justification. They force software producers to spend on bureaucracy, 
lawsuits, and circumventing dubious granted claims on software what 
would otherwise be spent on Research and Development. Owners of patents 
on software, who sometimes doesn't produce software themselves, obtain a 
means to exert unfair control over the market.
American mistakes

In the USA there are billions of dollars in litigation over software 
patents each year, and not only between software companies, but also 
other companies just because they have a web site (this starts to happen 
in Europe also). This mistake needs to be avoided in Europe.
We urge our legislators

     * to pass national legal clarifications to substantive patent law 
to rule out any software patent;
     * to invalidate all granted claims on patents that can be infringed 
by software run on programmable apparatus;
     * to also strive to propagate these rules to the European level, 
including the European Patent Convention.

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