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06.29.11

Microsoft Lobbyists Still Push for Software Patents in Europe

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft at 2:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Earth

Summary: Microsoft is still trying to take its monopolies on algorithms internationally, but it uses front groups and lobbyists to hide its actions

IT IS difficult to take one’s eyes off Microsoft because the company is always up to no good. One of Microsoft’s lobbying groups (the main patent lobbyist in Europe, ACT) is being groomed in this Windows-based site which pushes Zuck’s views as news and pushes his agenda a lot, perhaps still not realising that it’s an imposter for very large businesses (which pay him), pretending to represent small ones. Other Microsoft lobbyists exist, but this one has been at it for over a decade (other kept their mask through plausible denial and hacks around disclosure rules) and yet they do not ban him:

The decision was welcomed by industry representatives. Jonathan Zuck, the president of the Association for Competitive Technology, said: “A strong intellectual property protection is essential if the European Union wants to remain competitive and achieve even greater innovation.

“A fragmented and over-complicated patent system does not have a place in today’s market.”

Says the Microsoft lobbyist.

Murdoch’s press says that “EU Governments Agree Common Position In Single Patent Talks” and the FFII’s president responds with:

Europe desperately needs a single patent to boost litigation, validate software patents and favor the growth of trolls

The lawyers’ blog, IAM, paints this as a positive thing (it is for lawyers) and Microsoft’s role too gets revealed a little further:

Philips, Microsoft and DSM have come together to help fund a sustained campaign to promote the benefits of intellectual property to the global economy. The three have established a group called Ideas Matter; and according to a document seen by IAM, the idea behind it is “aimed at a need that most intellectual property based sectors have felt for a long time: expanding awareness of the positive value of intellectual property and improving the reputation of IP, in the face of widespread misunderstanding and criticism among opinion leaders, the press and the public.”

[...]

While Philips, Microsoft and DSM are the currently providing the funds, they are keen to recruit as many organisations as possible to take part.

Well, the lawyers want more damages because they take a cut off that. This Web site is said to have led to some backlash as:

EPO did not liked the unitary-patent.eu logo, asked for its removal

The thing about this “unitary” (a euphemism) plan is that it’s not for industry, it’s for patent lawyers and their clients (large businesses) to tax it along with the middlemen. While the news suggests that it’s inevitable (the corporations usually get what they want, eventually), it turns out that:

The extraordinary Competitiveness Council, meeting in Luxembourg on 27 June, put together the broad outlines of the future EU unitary patent. The 27 ministers agreed a general approach on the two draft regulations submitted by the European Commission implementing enhanced cooperation in this area by 25 member states (Italy and Spain are not participating given their opposition to the translation rules). The proposals concern: 1. the characteristics of and arrangements for issuing the future patent that confers identical protection in the participating member states; and 2. translation provisions.

The Hungarian EU Presidency was applauded for this compromise, which satisfies all the participating states and thus closes the first chapter of the legislative procedure. “The objective of common protection in the participating states is now achievable,” commented Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier. He hopes, together with the European Parliament, to consolidate this achievement so that the EU patent will become a reality within two years.

Mr. Barnier named in there. We wrote about him in many older posts over the past year. He deserves a lot of backlash for doing this.

Regarding this analysis [PDF], the FFII’s president quotes:

No further substantive patent law at the EU level should be created

Microsoft Florian mentions this too, in a positive context of course (he must be in favour) and based on another article, Wilcox is validating software patents not just with Peer to Patent [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] but also with endorsement of this “unitary” patent. To quote:

Baroness Wilcox, the UK’s intellectual property minister, said: “The creation of a single European patent and patent court is crucial for UK industry.

“We support a European patent system which gives real benefits for business, consumers and the economy. It is vital to offer businesses the same access to patent protection in their home market of Europe, as competitors in the US, China and Japan enjoy in theirs.”

“A unitary patent and court system will save businesses time and money whether they are patent holders or those seeking to challenge patents. The savings to UK business are likely to be around £20 million per year in translations costs alone.”

What a disgrace. Europe is in danger of becoming Microsoft prey in the sense that its laws may become just a mechanism for Microsoft to tax European companies that use Linux, for instance. See our page about software patents in Europe for chronology.

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