11.06.10

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Michel Barnier Still Confused, Spreading Misconception About Patents and ”Competitiveness“

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 3:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michel Barnier

Summary: By lobbying for an EU system more unified wrt the USPTO, European lobbyists and clueless politicians continue to help anti-competitive companies which reside outside Europe; other more minor news about software patents

MR. Barnier [1, 2] keeps rushing for destruction of EU autonomy as far as software patents go. Under the guise of “unity”, “centralisation”, or “harmony” (as in “harmonisation” as McCreeevy called it), this EU commissioner carries on marketing the American Dream™ using other more ‘commercial’ words like “competitiveness” (or “innovation” sometimes). These are all just soundbites, which could otherwise be replaced by more suitable descriptions like “contamination”, “globalisation”, “monopolisation” and so forth (mind the negative connotations).

The president of the FFII, Benjamin, warned that Barnier’s work puts us “on the road for software patents in Europe, validation without any debate” (this could be a violation of accepted procedures) and the article he points to quotes the following:

“There’s an urgency to find a solution to de-block this point on competitiveness for our companies,” Michel Barnier, the EU’s internal-market commissioner, said at a conference in Brussels yesterday. “We won’t be credible if prices for our patents in Europe are above those of U.S. patents.”

According to another new article Benjamin points to:

Computer programs excluded of patents in Mexico

We wrote about Mexico and software patents in [1, 2]. The Mexicans fight in unison against imposition of failed laws from the neighbours up north.

Lastly, Benjamin draws attention to this new book titled “Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property”. Its summary credits software programmers as follows:

They include software programmers who take to the streets to attack software patents

Within more context: “They include software programmers who take to the streets to attack software patents, AIDS activists who fight for generic medicines in poor countries, subsistence farmers who defend their right to food security and seeds, and college students who have created a new “free culture” movement to defend the digital commons.”

“It is important to ensure that software patents never formally enter Europe and Mexico for example.”Yes, there is a growing movement against patent monopolies and it’s definitely an important movement to sidle with now that Microsoft, for example, attacks software freedom using software patents. Those who want to fight software patents using other software patents are simply playing the wrong type of game. Now that Microsoft patents things as fundamental as the "record" button (new rant here), it ought to be clear that these patents are the problem, not just their possessor. It is important to ensure that software patents never formally enter Europe and Mexico for example. The likes of Barnier — parroting explanations that we’re accustomed to hearing from monopolists’ lobbyists — need to be exposed or their misunderstanding be highlighted (to help them change their minds).

Software developers — either of free of non-free software — do not want software patents. They must not let politicians and lobbyists who feed them with lies claim otherwise have have those lies printed in newspapers.

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