[ffii] Software Patent Loser Volvo lobbying for Uncommon Position

PILCH Hartmut phm at a2e.de
Thu Mar 31 17:29:58 CEST 2005

PRESS RELEASE FFII -- [ Europe / economy / ICT ]

Volvo Letter to EP: Software Patent Loser Lobbying for Council Position

The representative office of Volvo Motors in Brussels has sent in
recent days a paper to members of the European Parliament, dated 15
March 2005, which calls them to support the Council position of
September 2003.  The paper reads like a copied and pasted from papers
written by other large Swedish companies, consisting mainly of
unsubstantiated bold statements about the importance of patents and
the "devastating effects" that any serious limitation of patentability
would have.

A look at Volvo's patenting activities shows that Volvo has been
unsuccessfully trying to obtain a few broad and trivial patents on
ways to arrange a car's interior and an information display panel, but
that on the whole this is a very peripheral activity for Volvo that
does not affect its overall business in any way.  It looks more like
colleagues from large corporate patent departments doing one another a
favour by participating in letter-writing actions.  

In June 2003, Jean-Pierre Courniou, R&D director of Renault and
president of the "Club Informatique des Grandes Entreprises
Françaises" (CIGREF = Computing Club of the Large French Companies)
declared software patents to be a great danger for the automobile
industry and summarised: "For me and for CIGREF, the response is: no,
we don't want patentability".  According to FFII's research, Volvo 
owns far fewer software patents than Renault and is definitely on
the losing end of the software patent game in every respect.

Hartmut Pilch, president of FFII, comments: 

  "It is clear that Volvo is merely being used by a network of corporate
  patent lawyers for political statements that have nothing to do with
  the interests of Volvo.  MEPs should put hard questions to Volvo and
  insist on a talk with their board level.  As long as there is no
  apology from Volvo's board, the rest of us should punish Volvo for
  allowing abuse of its name by a kind of political activism that is
  harmful to the industry and consumers at large.  Please read Volvo's
  patent shameless patent claims and lobbying letters and remember
  them next time you think of buying or renting a car."

Extra information

The letter and Volvo's patent claims can be found at



Hartmut Pilch and Holger Blasum (Munich Office)
info at ffii org
tel. 0049-89-18979927

Erik Josefsson (Brussels Office)
erjos at ffii org
tel. 0032-2-7396262

Jonas Maebe:
jmaebe at ffii org
tel. 0032-485-369645

Dieter Van Uytvanck:
dieter at vrijschrift.org
tel. 0031-6-275-87910

About FFII -- http://www.ffii.org

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) is a
non-profit association registered in several European countries, which
is dedicated to the spread of data processing literacy. FFII supports
the development of public information goods based on copyright, free
competition, open standards. More than 500 members, 1,400 companies
and 80,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in
public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual
property) in data processing.  The FFII maintains offices in Munich and
Brussels and national supporter groups in most European countries.

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