Open Source

Let’s let them hear what we think about software patents

– a public consultation round on patents in EC –

As expected, the
Commission is most likely trying to sneak in the issue of software
patents into the Community Patent. A general discussion has now been opened about the
Community Patent and the future EC patent policy in general, nothing mentioned about software patents, though. The
Commission says that the Community Patent remains a priority for them,
but they are also seeking views on what measures could be taken in the
near future to improve the patent system in Europe.

What is dangerous here is that by bringing up the whole issue of
Community Patent and industrial property, which includes patents, the
debate of software patents as such (see the first round) will be pushed aside
and possible passed into the EC legislation by disguising it behind big
themes such as:

intellectual property rules are essential: by stimulating innovation
and leading
to the successful development of new products, they help to generate
growth and
jobs. We want to maximise these benefits in Europe by making the single
for patents a reality." by
Internal Market and Services
Commissioner Charlie McCreevy

The Community Patent, according to FFII position is
"uncontrolled case law, together with cheaper and easier application
and long retroactive period is a pernicious combination." (note,
the text from FFII was before this new consultation round, differences
in litigation system, among others). 

We’ve been discussing here before
about software patents
and how they could potentially be harmful
for the field of e-learning, especially for the open source development
within it. We are planning to write a position paper with arguments
presented before. See,
sign up for discussion list and help us finalise the position paper.

Once the position paper is ready, we’ll raise a campaign and have it
signed by e-learning practitioners. We hope that this will open up a
debate among e-learning stakeholders about the issue, which can
potentially have big ramifications for the field. This position paper
will also be sent to the Commission for the feedback on what we think
about the future EC patent policy including free e-learning (free as in
free speech!).

So, at the link below you can find the Commission’s call for
comments and the questionnaire in .pdf which they ask you to fill in
(how the hec do you fill in a .pdf?)

questionnaire is available at:

information on the EU’s industrial property policy is available at:

Sign up for the discussion about e-learning patents at

no e-learning patents!

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