[FSFE PR][EN] German Parliament says: Stop Granting Software Patents

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfeurope.org
Tue Apr 23 13:09:32 CEST 2013

= German Parliament says: Stop Granting Software Patents =

[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/2013/news-20130422-01.en.html]

The German Parliament, the Bundestag, has adopted a joint motion against
software patents. The resolution urges the German government to take steps to
limit the granting of patents on computer programs.

In the resolution [1], the Parliament says that patents on software restrict
developers from exercising their copyright privileges, including the right to
distribute their programs as Free Software. Patents help to create monopolies
in the software market, and hurt innovation and job creation. The Parliament
calls on the German government to make sure that Free Software development is
not restricted by patents.

"Software patents are harmful in every way, and are useless at promoting
innovation", says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation
Europe. "We urge the German government to act on this resolution as soon as
possible, and relieve software developers from the needless patent-related
costs and risks under which they are currently suffering."

Software patents [2] are illegal under the European Patent Convention.
Nevertheless, the European Patent Office has granted tens of thousands of
patents covering software. As a result, software developers constantly risk
being accused of patent infringement. This causes legal uncertainty which is
costly for large companies, and potentially deadly for small ones.

The Parliament's resolution reminds the government that, under the EU's
Computer Programs Directive, software is covered by copyright, not patents. It
calls on the government to finally put the directive's "copyright approach"
into practice, and make German law more concrete in this regard. It also
points out that the restrictions which patents impose are incompatible with
the most widely used Free Software licenses.

For any future initiative to reform European rules on copyright and patents,
the Parliament asks the German government to make sure that developers'
economic exploitation rights for their programs are not restricted by patents.
The government should also push to ensure that software is covered by
copyright alone, and that patent offices (including the European Patent
Office) stop granting patents on software.

== Contact ==

Karsten Gerloff,
Free Software Foundation Europe
<gerloff at fsfeurope.org>
+49 176 9690 4298

== More information: ==

- Joint Motion approved by the Bundestag (in German, PDF) [2].

[1] http://dip21.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/17/130/1713086.pdf

- Background on software patents

[2] http://fsfe.org/campaigns/swpat/swpat.en.html

== About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in the
information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free Software
Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the furthering of
Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study, modify and copy.
Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues, securing Free
Software politically and legally, and giving people Freedom by
supporting development of Free Software are central issues of the FSFE.


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