[ffii] ACTA may hamper fight against climate change

Ante ante at ffii.org
Fri Jun 4 10:31:24 CEST 2010

[ ACTA / Economy  / Innovation ]

ACTA may hamper fight against climate change

Brussels, June 4th 2010 -- The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) may 
hamper the fight against climate change by inhibiting the diffusion of green 
technology, according to the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure 

Behind closed doors, the European Union, United States, Japan and other trade 
partners are negotiating an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ACTA will 
contain new international norms for the enforcement of copyrights, trade mark 
rights, patents and other exclusive rights. 

Following the release of a draft ACTA text, the FFII updated its analysis of 
the effects ACTA may have on the software field. The software sector is plagued 
by patent thickets. Non-practicing entities ("trolls") file frivolous lawsuits 
and demand high damages. In the U.S., even major software companies, owning 
huge patent portfolios, support patent reform. Depending on the outcome of the 
final text, ACTA may impose injunctions for all patent infringements and 
increase damages. This will render reform impossible. The FFII analysis shows 
ACTA may help holders of large patent portfolios to eliminate competition from 
start-ups, smaller sized companies and open source projects.

FFII analyst Ante Wessels: "The ACTA-problems are not limited to software. To 
win the fight against climate change, fast diffusion of green technology is 
needed. Policy makers know that, patent trolls know that. We will see the same 
problems that plague the software field, like trivial patents, amassing of 
patents, frivolous lawsuits, hampering of follow up innovation and high 
transaction costs. Especially since many modern products, like hybrid cars, 
contain software."

In a podcast, Nikolaus Thumm, Chief Economist of the European Patent Office, 
said that the key facilitator of technology transfer is licensing. He mentions 
people giving away essential parts of their technologies.

Ante Wessels: "Making the fight against climate change dependant on charity 
from patent holders hardly seems advisable. Means to force patent owners to 
cooperate are needed too. ACTA may impose injunctions for all infringements, 
there will then be no way to force patent holders to cooperate. Even if this 
problem is solved, the high damages ACTA proposes will drive up the costs for 
diffusion of green technology. While the funds are already limited, for 
instance, the fight against AIDS seems lost, due to lack of money. The same may 
happen with diffusion of green technology."

According to the FFII, there is no indication that the 1994 WTO TRIPS 
agreement provides inadequate protection for patent holders.

The next round of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations is 
scheduled for later this month in Switzerland.


FFII analysis:

European Patent Office Forum 2010 on Climate Change

European Patent Office podcast:

Permanent link to this press release:


Ante  Wessels 
 Phone: +31 6  100 99 063 
 ante (at) ffii.org 

FFII Office Berlin 
 Malmöer  Str. 6 
 D-10439 Berlin 
 Fon:  +49-30-41722597 
 Fax Service: +49-721-509663769  
 Email:  office (at) ffii.org  

About FFII

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 1000 
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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