[ffii] UK software companies oppose Unitary Patent ratification

Alex Macfie amacfie at ffii.org
Thu Mar 9 13:43:34 CET 2017

      UK software companies oppose Unitary Patent ratification

PRESS RELEASE -- [ Brexit / Patents / Economy ]

London, 9th March 2017 - Companies across UK have expressed their opposition
to an attempt to ratify the Unitary Patent treaty which is neither desirable
for British software companies nor compatible with Brexit. They call for an
urgent debate in the House of Lords and in the Scottish Parliament.

After years of intense lobbying by large corporations, as well as their patent
lawyers, progress was made towards a Unitary Patent Court (UPC) that would not
only facilitate expansion of patent scope to software but also usher in
so-called 'patent trolls'. The Unitary Patent Court will have pan-european
authority to impose injunctions, royalties for supposed damages from British
companies. This represents an existential threat to many British companies,
which foreign companies are hoping to thwart or cripple using patents.

Mark Taylor, CEO of Sirius Ltd, from Bracknell: "The EPO paid a visit
yesterday to Mr Jo Johnson to push for a UK ratification before the end of
March, and without reopening a debate inside the Parliament. I hereby call for
a broad and informed parliamentary debate about the consequences of the UPC on
the economy, especially for the software industry, and in the light of Brexit.
The UPC is another monster coming from Brussels."

Maurice Shakeshaft, CEO of CB Automation Ltd, from Newark: "The Unitary Patent
will be the nail in the coffin for the european software industry. This court
will be populated by members of the patent industry, which has broadened the
scope of patents to software for the last 30 years."

Michael Kay, CEO of Saxonica Ltd, from Reading: "Software patents are a major
inhibitor to innovation, and a major risk for small innovative sofware
companies like ourselves. Small companies can't defend themselves against
threats by patent trolls. The UK parliament and courts have always resisted
software patents, for very good reasons, but the UPC threatens to let them in
by the back door."

Michael Krech, CEO of Intelligent Firmware Ltd, from Hinckley: "UPC means job
losses. Our company does not have the means to fight patent trolls in court.
In the US, the only line of defense for small companies is the Alice decision.
But with UPC, the fox will be in charge of the hen-house."

Alex Macfie, of FFII UK, from London: "The UK has still 2 years to ratify, the
rush is coming from the patent industry and foreign governments who
blackmailed the UK government 'if you don't ratify now, we will rewrite the
UPC and go without you'. The rush for Mr Johnson is to ratify without a new
debate in Parliament before the end of March, when Brexit is triggered. No
impact analysis of UPC has ever been made for the software industry."

Many other software companies accross Europe are opposing the Unitary Patent.
American patent trolls are already lurking at Europe as a better place to do
litigation than in the US. The UPC is a luxury castle for those multinational
companies who can afford litigation.

The UPC advances in an undemocratic fashion, led by few people who stand to
profit from it, and steered by few politicians who neither comprehend the
effect of the UPC nor care for the inherent incompatibility with Brexit.

Companies across the UK have not been asked for their input on the UPC, which
has been pushed by those eager to see its quick passage, typically for
personal gain. The British economy thrives because small companies are mostly
protected from the harm of software patents and since most of them operate
locally they have no use for a system of patent assertion that is effective
EU-wide; they would, however, become highly vulnerable if courts across Europe
and outside the UK suddenly enabled large multinational corporations to make
demands of patent settlements, embargoes, and potentially drive British
companies into bankruptcy. That is the vision of the UPC and the motive for
dozens of companies and nearly 100 individuals signing the petition at


* EPO President meets with Jo Johnson, the new UK intellectual property
  minister: http://m.epo.org/news-issues/news/2017/20170308.html
* Petition against the ratification of the Unitary Software Patent treaty by the
  UK and Scotland http://www.nounitarysoftwarepatents.uk/
* Permanent link to this press release:


Alex Macfie, FFII UK, amacfie at ffii.org, +44 7717 855482

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