[ffii] Patent industry writes ICT task force report "on behalf of SMEs"

Jonas Maebe media-help at ffii.org
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 
good faith."


* 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

Contact information

Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+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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