March 22, 2006

FFII open letter calls for participation in Community Patent consultation

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Brussels, 22 March 2006. The FFII urges European businesses which produce or depend on software for their daily operations to participate in the European Commission’s consultation on the Community Patent. The FFII provides a detailed analysis as well as example answers to the questions. The consultation’s participation deadline is 31 March 2006.

Dear Corporate Supporters,

The EU Commission launched, two months ago, a consultation procedure for a “final effort” to introduce EU-wide patents. There is a strong chance that this process will legitimise software patents, and make it easier and cheaper to use them in court. We believe this would be very bad for the EU IT sector and all businesses that depend on it. In our experience, software patents lead to more lawsuits, not to more software.

The FFII has been working on analysing the consultation procedure, and writing good answers to the Commission’s questions. Last week we also met the Commission’s Erik Nooteboom, who is in charge of the consultation, and we expressed our concerns. We believe that the plan to create a wider patent system is counter-productive without moves to ban once and for all patents on ideas, methods, and algorithms, the basics of software and the IT industry.

Our analysis is available in

If you have time, read the whole analysis. If you are in a hurry, we have prepared some example answers. You can also take key points and use these to answer the questions in your own words.

It is explained in detail on ffii:consultation:How_to_Answer.

As president of the FFII, the association that has been fighting for six long years to protect your right to do business, by keeping patents out of the software industry, I ask you to take three concrete actions:

  • First of all, answer the consultation, in your own words, in email or on paper.
  • Secondly, make a substantial donation to the FFII so that we can continue to defend your rights.
  • Lastly, forward this email to other businesses which produce or use software so they can also answer.

The issue of software patents affects us all, and we must seize this opportunity to influence the future laws. It is not often that we can make a difference, but this is one of those few times.

The FFII will be monitoring the consultation process and holding open a dialogue with the Commission to represent you. If you have questions, please send them to consultation at ffii.org.

With best regards

Pieter Hintjens
President, FFII e.V. <pieterh at ffii.org>

Background Information

Contact Information

Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+32-2-414 84 03
bhenrion at ffii.org
(French/English)

About FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association registered in twenty European countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 850 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.