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10.28.10

Michel Barnier Still Has an Agenda Hostile Towards European Software Developers

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 2:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michel Barnier

Summary: A new report about EU commissioner Michel Barnier clarifies his views on the subject of patents, which have not changed and still favour the so-called ‘Community patent’ (misleading name)

LAST YEAR WE warned that Mr. Michel Barnier was going “to make the Community patent a reality”. For those who do not know yet, the Community patent would be terrible news to the Free software community. It would potentially legalise or further legitimise software patents in Europe.

According to this new report from the Bill Gates-funded [1, 2, 3, 4] Guardian, Barnier is still at it: [via Hugo Roy (FSFE) in France]

The paper being released and obtained by the Guardian, says: “The absence of a single EU-wide patent is striking. Obtaining a patent protection for all 27 EU member states is currently at least 15 times more expensive than obtaining patent protection in the US.”

For those who do not understand why software patents in Europe would harm all Europeans, consider the following new remark from Stefan Wenig who argues:

the irony would be great if EU really had no #swpats. we could f*ck US corps over US patents we own, but be untouchable at home

Dr. Richard Stallman explained this point more politely a few years ago. The corollary is that Barnier’s actions are irresponsible as far as his continents’ software developers are concerned (and not just developers whose program code is free/libre as it’s an issue of scale).

“Small Software companies cannot afford to go to court or pay damages. Who is this software patent system for?” —Marco Schulze, Nightlabs Gmbh

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A Single Comment

  1. twitter said,

    October 28, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Gravatar

    I doubt the ironic situation above will happen, but the EU is still better off without software patents. US companies are using US patents as a barrier to the US market. Software proponents will argue that the EU or EU member states need the same as a retaliatory threat, but it is not so. If the EU or member states make the software patent mistake, the same big companies will quickly game the system to their advantage and wreck the market the same way the us market is broken and EU companies will still be denied access to the US market. While it is obvious that the US court system favors US companies in decisions, it is not obvious that EU courts would do the same. The decision might just go to the highest bidder, which will be the biggest company with the biggest home market. Power breeds power. Trade protection is better served by trade protection laws. Software patents hand out unpredictable and senseless business method monopolies to the company with the biggest bunch of lawyers and money.

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