[ffii] Patent industry writes ICT task force report "on behalf of
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Wed Nov 29 10:27:34 CET 2006
PRESS RELEASE -- [ Europe / Economy / ICT ]
Patent industry writes ICT task force report "on behalf of SMEs"
Brussels, 29 November 2006 -- A key report produced by a European
Commission task force was written almost entirely by the patent industry
and large firms, including SAP's patent lawyers, US firms, and the
European Patent Office, says the FFII.
The report titled "IPR for competitiveness and innovation" claims that
studies prove that SMEs need patent protection, that SMEs benefit from
patents, and that increased software patents in the US have not hampered
innovation in the US ICT sector. These claims are forcibly contested by
SME organisations, who point out that software patents punish the IT SME
sector, while giving large firms a key grip on the market.
The report is particularly insulting to small IT firms, claiming that
they "generally reveal an anxious attitude towards the patent system as
a whole. Any reform or initiative [...] is viewed as a potential
backdoor for introducing software patents, a concept opposed by a large
majority among this Group." The report also accuses small IT firms of
having "a relatively inadequate understanding and general knowledge of
the patent system".
The FFII, an observer at the task force, saw strong censorship during
the drafting of the report. FFII president Pieter Hintjens says, "the
chairman, SAP, exploited their position to make sure that
reform-oriented comments were excluded and debate was silenced. Overall
the report reflects the opinion of a very small but controlling minority
- and certainly no SMEs - while claiming to be representative".
Hintjens continues: "I am astounded that the EPO, a patent
administration body who blatantly lobby for the patent industry, can be
allowed to participate in a so-called SME task force. It was a farce.
This report is a mockery and an insult to all those who participated in
* Patentfrei's documentation on how their contributions were (not) treated
* Patentfrei's report on Workgroup 2: IPR (in German)
* Official ICT Task Force reports
* SME associations call on Commission to fix ICT Task Force weaknesses
* Permanent link to this press release
+32-2-414 84 03 (fixed)
+32-484-56 61 09 (mobile)
bhenrion at ffii.org
About the FFII -- http://www.ffii.org
The FFII is a not-for-profit association registered in twenty European
countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the
public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards.
More than 850 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have
entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions
concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.
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