Stefane Fermigier

Posts for category: Software Patents

Software patents: there is little time left (2 weeks), it's time to act now

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Here is a message I just got from the FFII regarding the upcoming vote on software patents in the European Parliament.

If the Directive is adopted in second reading by the Parliament, it would mean a tremendous blow to the european IT SMEs (and probably also some of the major players too) as well as for free / open source software projects who will have to sustain in the near future vicious attacks from our american competitors (and probably some others).

It seems there is still a little hope left, so we'd better not lose the last chances we have to change to course of the european IT history. It's time to act now.

Here is the mail I received:

Dear Stefane Fermigier, CEO, Nuxeo,

1) The vote in the Second Reading on the software patent directive is in 11-13 work days, on 5-7 July.

2) Lobbying in Brussels is heavy, currently there is much pressure on MEPs by pro-software-patent companies. The pro-patent lobby has about 30 lobbyists more than we, mostly wearing the hat of SMEs.

3) Your action is needed, at http://noepatents.eu.org/ we maintain a list of what you can do as an SME and as an individual. Especially we advise to see your MEP soon and, if you can speak for an SME, to visit the Economic Majority conference 29 June Brussels http://www.economic-majority.com/konf050629/.

Please decide to come the conference early, so that a date with your MEP or with his/her assistant can be arranged in advance.

With kind regards,

Hartmut Pilch, Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, FFII

Nuxeo against software patents

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Here is a text that I've just written in support of the latest campaign against software patents in europe.

At Nuxeo, we are developing, with other european and non-european companies, world-class software in the field of Enterprise Content Management (ECM), a field currently dominated by american companies like Documentum, OpenText, IBM or Microsoft. These companies own a certain amount of patents that may or may not cover parts of what we are doing with our software, and may or may not be "bogus" patents, i.e. patents that would be invalidated by prior art. Finding out the patents that we may infringe upon, and and then trying to find evidence of prior art, would however take us so much of our own time, and of outside experts fees, that it would probably stop us from keeping innovating and distract a lot of our energy from our customers projects.

On our latest project, we have calculated that all the checks, audits and insurance fees needed to cover some of legal risk would amount to increasing our costs by 30 to 50%, with absolutely no benefits in terms of added value for our customers.

So, if these american companies are allowed to extend their software patents on the european territory, and since we are gaining market share at their expense, we are almost certain that they will use their patent portfolio against us in order to try to regain their market position.

We strongly believe that our situation is not an exception, but rather the general case, and that all european software companies have a lot to lose if the Software Patents Directive is adopted in its current state.

(Added at 17pm) My testimony is now online on theEconomic Majority site, alongside other fine people likePierre Haren (Ilog) orHåkon Wium Lie (Opera).

Brevets logiciels: "racket du siècle" et "démarche quasi mafieuse"

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C'est pas moi qui le dit, c'est un professeur à Centrale.

Aujourd'hui les conséquences de l'adoption des brevets sur l'industrie informatiques sont connues et sont malheureusement à déplorer:
- entre 30 et 40 milliards de dollars de redevances annuelle à payer par l'ensemble des pays de l'Europe aux industries essentiellement américaines.
- possibilité d'entraver la création et l'innovation notamment celle du logiciel libre qui reste la dernière chance, pour l'Europe, de jouer un rôle dans le domaine de l'informatique.
- en brevetant le format des données, Microsoft va ainsi imposer ses logiciels dans le monde du multimédia et contrôler les fournisseurs de contenus.

(ViaStandBlog).

Brevets logiciels: nouvelle menace sérieuse

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Nouveau rebondissement dans l'affaire des brevets logiciels: la Commission Barroso tente un nouveau passage en force, contre la volonté du Parlement, de son projet de directive, aujourd'hui 7 mars.

L'AFUL vient de sortir un communiqué sur le sujet: La démocratie européenne bafouée par la Commission Européenne.

MAJ à 11h35: le Danemark va semble-t-il s'opposer à ce nouveau passage en force. L'appel au gouvernement français pour qu'il se préoccupe du sujet avec moins de mépris l'intérêt général (et en particulier de l'innvation technologique, de la liberté de développer et d'entreprendre, et dans l'intérêt économique de l'Union) n'en reste pas moins d'actualité.

MAJ à 14h:le Conseil a voté la directive en dépit de son règlement intérieur. La France n'a évidemment pas bougé le petit doigt.

Brevets logiciels: très bonne interview de Michel Rocard sur 01net

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Michel Rocard explique et analyse l'adoption par le Conseil des ministres européens d'une position commune sur le projet de directive. Selon lui et en conclusion "(...) cette pagaille juridique n'est bonne pour personne." et un compromis entre la Commission et le Parlement finira par être trouvé.

Espérons que ce sera le cas. L'avenir des créateurs de logiciels européens est à présent entre les mains du Parlement.