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12.28.11

European Commission Betrays the European Public With Stance on OOXML and Unitary Patent

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 1:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Continuation of this post

Side view of Koekelberg's basilica

Summary: New examples of the Commission serving as guardian of corporations, not the public

EARLIER this year we demonstrated that the European Commission had lost its way [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Linking to this whitepaper, the FFII’s president writes that “The Commission has apparently sacrificed its function as the guardian of the principles, values and policies of the EU…”

André Rebentisch from the FFII shows that the “EU Commission explains how they slapped their citizens in the face”. It’s said in relation to OOXML:

Document Exchange – EU Commission explains how they slapped their citizens in the face

[...]

It seems to me the Commission had good reasons to keep this offensive document confidential for so long. Many persons I know are simply outraged when they think back at the OOXML standardization process.

As the FFII’s folks point out in the NO-OOXML Web site: “The preferred document exchange among European Institutions is OOXML”, this is the summary of an awful document produced by the “Inter-Institutional Committee for Informatics” of the European Institutions. Basically the document says that European bureaucrats use Microsoft Office everywhere on their desktop, and this is not gonna change.”

It’s the same in the UK pretty much. “The Great Betrayal of 2012″ calls it Glyn Moody, with others noticing that the BSA, a Microsoft front group, “tears UK policy to shreds”:

Cabinet Office scrapped its open standards policy before opening it to consultation last month, opening the way for a major policy U-turn.

It issued a procurement policy edict on 30 November that erased a standards policy that had been in place since 31 January. It was revoked after a period of lobbying by powerful companies lined against its open standards policy that included Microsoft and the Business Software Alliance.

Who is left then to stand up for the public? “Polititcians are gonna change the EU treaties once again without referendums. It is really time for a change in politics,” wrote the FFII’s president. But it gets worse. It’s not just about OOXML. This extends to patent policy to a degree. Pierre Delsaux of the Commission takes a troubling stance which jumps in line with patent lawyers. “Italy, which now has a new government led by Mario Monti, is considering joining the system, said Delsaux” (according to this report).

Regarding this article, the “tensions between EU Member States,” claims Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, “unitary patent could be dead before being born” and also:

Spain is not changing its opinion on #upat afaik

The FFII asks: “Would #Almunia prolong EUnuch rules for #patent trolls?” This one official page gives a grim outlook.

Mind the article “It’s now or never for EU patent reform – Commission” because it says that:

It’s now or never for EU patent reform – Commission

If EU member states ever want to get a deal on the patent reform package they need to put their negotiating cards on the table, a senior Commission official said today

Does the Commission think it is really helping by supporting it. Some members of it tried rushing everything and amid delays the patent lawyers became more passionate about batting for this mess and one lawyers’ site said: “As discussions over patent and trade reforms in Europe reach a critical stage, the departure of key staff could cause more delays”

There is no reason to rush into this thing and there is no reason to ever pass it until the patent systems in other continents become more sane, Over in the US media companies like CBS are being sued by patent trolls, which gives hope for reform there (the media controls public perception). To quote Masnick:

Of course, while media companies aren’t quite as used to dealing with patent lawsuits, and also don’t have patent portfolios of their own should they be sued by practicing entities, the one thing they do have is the ability to sway public opinion. It will be interesting to see, as this keeps up, if it backfires on the trolling firms by simply calling more and more attention to some of their practices.

The unitary patent can extend the reach of patent trolls and cause enormous damage to the European economy, The Commission should strongly oppose it, especially Commissioner Barnier, whose role we will write about separately. We we mentioned him not so long ago, as well as here, here, here, here and here.

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2 Comments

  1. rebentisch said,

    January 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Gravatar

    I don’t share your antagonism but I take notice when Commission policies seem offensive to certain groups of technologists.

    It is remarkable how they announce their support for the quite controversial OpenXML format on the same page where they outline their internal open source policy.

    What seems biased to me is the lack of attention the complex matter of document exchange formats receives by the Commission.

    That does not necessitate shouting.

  2. Dr. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 2, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Gravatar

    The Commission has disappointed a lot on the patent front, which also relates to OOXML.

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