Software Patents in Europe

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Karlsruhe, June 2005

Memorandum on Software Patentability

We, the undersigned, share a vision of Europe as a lively, creative and competitive part of the world. This vision is based on the principles of participative democracy and the freedom to innovate; these rely on Europeans being free to develop software and to distribute their work, free from the threat and the restrictions of software patents.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) play a central role in all areas of the economy today, and they are the foundation of the knowledge economy, in which Europe continues to excel.

Our vision is to see the European ICT industry become the most vibrant in the world - and the European Parliament shared this vision, when it made the necessary amendments to the directive on computer-implemented inventions during its first reading on 24 September 2003.

That directive is better known as software patent directive because in its original version it not only allowed patents on computer-aided inventions, it also allowed patents on the algorithms and logic of the software itself.

In what was the one of the best and most laudable examples of democratic participation, companies and non-profit organisations together outlined the likely harmful consequences to democracy, competition, innovation and employment.

On 18 May 2004 the Council of the European Union frustrated those democratically-reached positions - they restored the original proposal with unlimited patentability of software. They ultimately adopted this position on 7 March 2005 in defiance of regional and national political processes, as well as the scientific findings by the German Monopolkommission, which regularly reports about dangers to competition to the Federal Government of Germany; the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT); the Boston University School of Law; Deutsche Bank Research; Price Waterhouse Coopers; and the US Federal Trade Commission.

Patents on software are among the worst threats to knowledge-based industries, by restricting software development: they make computers less secure, less reliable and prevent competition on a basic level. Lack of competition and uncalculable legal risks raise the cost of ICT and cost jobs wherever the economy depends upon them.

The most essential discoveries in the field of ICT were successful because they were not patented, for instance the invention of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee. If software patents are enacted, the world will never know which discovery could have been the next World Wide Web.

On 6 July 2005, the directive will once again enter the European Parliament for its second reading: In the interest of Europe and its democratic roots we urge you to once more make the necessary amendments to turn this software patent directive into a directive that allows patents on computer-aided inventions, but clearly prevents software patenting.

Georg Greve
President
Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)

If you wish to see your name or the name of your organisation added to this list, please contact web@fsfeurope.org.

Järjestöt
  • BYTEWISE Software GmbH
  • Bohnert DV-Beratung
  • Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras
  • Fundación Conocimiento Libre
  • Skolelinux (signed by Maximilian Wilhelm, Martin Herweg)
  • Skolelinux France (signed by Xavier Oswald, Boris Tersing)
  • newthinking network
  • OpenBSD (signed by Christian Weisgerber, Robert Nagy, Bernd Ahlers
  • Reactos Foundation (signed by Alexey Bragin)
  • OpenGroupware.org (signed by Helge Heß)
  • Jäger Messtechnik GmbH
  • OpenUsability.org (signed by Tina Trillitzsch)
  • AMG Ettlingen (signed by Dirk Zechnall)
  • Pingos e.V. (signed by Jan Tripsler)
  • x-tend.be (signed by Filip Sneppe)
  • GNOME Deutschland e.V. (signed by Christian Meyer, Martin Kretzschmar, Michael Gebhart)
  • MPlayer
  • ROCKLinux (signed by Daniel Jahre, Hannes Sowa)
  • FreeVideo (signed by Sami Okahn, Sascha Sommer)
  • xine (signed by Siggi Langauf, Mike Melanson)
  • FFmpeg (signed by Mans Rullgard)
  • KDE (signed by Carsten Niehaus, Tobias König)
  • eZ Systems
  • Gonicus GmbH
  • DZUG e.V. (German ZOPE User's Group)
  • comundus (signed by Philipp Burckhardt, Kai Schliemannli)
  • JIT Creatives
  • Stichting NLnet
  • Semantica
  • Association for Free Software (AFFS)
  • Hau Medientechnik
  • TRANSFLOW Informationslogistik GmbH
  • TYPO3 Association
  • Windfinder.com
  • Uebergebuehr (signed by Sven Wilhelm)
  • Opensourcelab Italy
  • LWsystems
  • K&D Interactive
Yksityishenkilöt
  • Christa Dahme, Bundesvorstand Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB)
  • Dr. Wolfgang Kowalsky, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
  • Annette Mühlberg, Head of eGovernment, ver.di - United Services Union-Headquarters, Berlin
  • Katja Husen, Bundesvorstand BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN (Federal Board of Green Party, Germany)
  • Christian Kopischke
  • Mario Fux
  • Michael Kallas
  • Felix Klee
  • Karsten Gerloff
  • Joachim Jakobs
  • Ciaran O'Riordan
  • Myriam Schweingruber
  • Florian Verdet
  • María Ruiz
  • Pablo Machón
  • Klaus Knopper
  • Prof.Dr.Clemens H. Cap
  • Dr.rer.nat. Juergen Vollmer
  • Sascha Kersken
  • Christoph Pingel
  • Arne Vogel
  • Tobias Koeck
  • Martin Hjort Eriksen
  • Sebastian Fontius
  • Dominik Bey
  • Johannes Schriewer
  • Isabella Hauschopp
  • Henning Wackernagel
  • Daniel Gibson
  • Mihael Vrbanec
  • Joshy Cyriac
  • Oliver Knoch
  • Andreas Hosch
  • Martin Frackl
  • Sonja Dures
  • Heiner Adam
  • Christian Holländer
  • Jörg Sawatcki
  • Ronald Richter
  • Georg Basse
  • Martin Schaller
  • Thomas Räthe
  • Maik Hetmank
  • Jochen Wambsgauß,
  • Sonja Fischer, M.A.
  • Werner Hüsch
  • Christoph Tielecke
  • Maurice Massar
  • Barbara Dolane
  • Daniel Paul
  • Steffen Pingel
  • Florian Grumor
  • Maximilian Weiß
  • Volker Schlef
  • Denis Kozjak
  • Jürgen Brock
  • Marius Nünnerich
  • Patrick Hurrelmann
  • Markus Brüffer
  • Max Laier
  • Ulrich Knobloch
  • Dirk Wetter
  • Daniel Steinberger
  • Florian Boor
  • Marko Friedemann
  • Edgar Hucek
  • Christina König
  • Michael Zacherle
  • Jörg Scheurich
  • Christian A. Korff
  • Dario Ernst
  • Stefan Schweizer
  • Stephan Grein
  • Horst Ehrnsberger
  • Florian Schiel
  • Helmut Lang
  • Sybille Schiel
  • Didier Clerk
  • Meike Richter
  • Jutta Horstmann
  • Robin Roth
  • Biska Classen
  • Til Kreuels
  • Hernulf Pelzer
  • Jasmin Blanchette (Trolltech)
  • Michael Batz
  • Jörg Böhme
  • Mete Boz
  • Philipp Ost
  • Michael Schile
  • Benjamin Albers
  • Klaus Trompka
  • Stefan Ditz
  • Yuwei Lin
  • Susan Pfeifer
  • Christian Nordioane
  • Julia Völz (tarent GmbH)
  • Benjamin Knust
  • Daniel Nümm (ALPHALOG)
  • Jörg Kreß (ubuntu/GNOME)
  • Alex Beregszaszi
  • Diego Biurrun
  • Reimar Döffinger
  • Alexander Strasser
  • Roberto Togni
  • Rebecca Grimm
  • Philipp Burckhardt (comundus)
  • Kai Schliemann (comundus)
  • Mareus Krüger
  • Martin Schmitz (net&works)
  • Richard Verwayen
  • Andreas Kollmohr
  • Jens Kutzsche
  • Jens-Martin Rümer
  • Thomas Müller
  • Dohmen, Rainer
  • Immanuel Witschi
  • Jan Wildeboer (FFII e.V.)
  • Cord Martens
  • Alexander Schmehl
  • Uwe Kaiser
  • Uli Martens
  • Patrick Gerken (credativ)
  • H .Hohgraefe (MySQL)
  • Thomas Weinert (papaya)
  • Johann Hartmann (Mayflower/ThinkPHP)
  • Markus Börger
  • Till Kamppeter (Mandriva / Linuxprinting.org)
  • Manuel Schneider (All-Things-Open project group)
  • Stefan Zeeb (th data)
  • Johannes Loren (SerNet GmbH)
  • N. Rüther (tarent GmbH)
  • P. Haubold (tarent GmbH)
  • Alexander Födisch
  • Martin Kurz
  • Benjamin Mako Hill
  • Nico Stute
  • Rene Kopf
  • David Förster
  • Patric Wust
  • Tim Sutton
  • Marco Hugentobler
  • Jens Oberender
  • Daniel Lange
  • Melanie Nurdia
  • Christoph Breitler
  • Markus Groh
  • Markus Hoffmann
  • Emil Beinroth
  • Dennis Sela
  • Shanna Schweiz
  • Tilmann Koschnick
  • Sven Geggus
  • Henning Sprang
  • Matthias Himber
  • Steffen Mutter
  • Thorsten Zitterell
  • Dirk von Suchodoletz
  • Roman Malytsky
  • Rene Sprotte
  • Peter Bleckmann
  • Matthias Maisenbacher
  • Till Maas
  • Michael Schäfer
  • Heino Schwarz
  • Jörg Zastran
  • Stephan Krause
  • David Roetzel
  • Arno Nebauer
  • Lars Brand
  • Mareike Engusch
  • Julian von Wirth
  • Ramon Cahenzli
  • Irene Sommer
  • Alberto Gobbi
  • Florian Haas
  • Valentina Vuksic
  • Roman Haefeli
  • Sven Krewitt
  • Alberto González
  • Ulrich Klotz (IG Metall - Vorstand)
  • Fritz Effenberger
  • Eduardo Diez y Riega V.
  • Samuel Skanberg
  • Giovanni Biscuolo
  • Benedikt Wildenhain
  • Dipl. Phys. Karl Gaissmaier (University of Ulm)
  • Robert Christenson
  • Guide Günther
  • Karsten Merker
  • Richard Walter
  • Rüdiger Schiffer
  • Ruth Velte
  • Susanne Ebrecht
  • Kai Nitschke
  • Hauke Löffler
  • Kester Habermann
  • Jon Kristensen
  • Armin Rupp
  • Harald Weidner
  • Lars Wendler
  • Achim Woessner
  • Michael Widerhold
  • Uwe Heinecke
  • Robert Krig
  • Andreas K. Foerster
  • Valentin Born
  • Dennis Schneck
  • Kristian Rink
  • Daniel Herzog
  • Siegfried Seifert
  • Holger Niblau
  • Jürgen Burmeister
  • Matthias Steffen Müller
  • Hauke Goos-Habermann
  • Christian von Essen
  • Michael Hofmann
  • Philipp Haiden
  • Pascal Streichen
  • Hannes Lau
  • Sepp Käsbauer
  • Christian Gosch
  • Jörg Naumann
  • Tobias Hauth
  • Thimo Seufer
  • Johannes Rau
  • Harald Schweder
  • Julia Simon