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.