Unitary Patent: Council asks Parliament to sign its death certificate in patent law

Brussels, 21 November 2012 — This monday, the Cypriot Presidency stated in parliament that they are “aware of concerns that the legislator can be deprived of their legislative competence”. In fact the new patent compromise is similar to the “a death certificate in patent law” for the European Parliament, says Benjamin Henrion, president of the FFII. According to leaks published by PCinpact, the latest compromise seeks to remove the role of the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice from any power in the proposed patent system (articles 6-8). Benjamin Henrion, president of FFII, warns: “The Council asks basically to the European Parliament to sign their death certificate in patent law. No part of the proposed system will be under the control of an elected legislator.

European Commission net neutrality consultation excludes TOR users

Brussels, 23 July 2012 — The European Commission blocks TOR users’ access to its web site. TOR is an internet anonymisation technology and became widely popular for its facilitating role in the Arab spring movement. “This is ironic, the Commission is conducting a public consultation on net neutrality, and they already censor a part of the internet to access their site”, finds FFII President Benjamin Henrion. He was troubled by the issue when he tried to access the consultation website from European Commissioner Neelie Kroes. “The European Commission is seeking answers to questions on specific aspects of transparency, traffic management and switching in an Open Internet”, the website says.

ACTA endangers innovation and fundamental rights

Today the FFII sent an open letter to The President of the European Parliament. See below or the pdf. See also our press release and the French translation: ACTA menace innovation et droits fondamentaux. ====

ACTA endangers innovation and fundamental rights

Open letter to The President of the European Parliament

28 June 2012

Dear Mr Schulz,

On 6 July 2005, the European Parliament almost unanimously rejected the software patents directive. The monopolisation of software ideas was a too serious threat to small and medium sized enterprises and innovation.

EU patent plans are a fuel for patent trolls, says British Telecom

Strasbourg, 27 april 2012 — British Telecom patent lawyer Simon Roberts warned that current plans for an EU patent court are a fuel for patent trolls. The current plans for an EU patent court will allow countries such as Germany to keep their bifucarted court system, which acts like a magnet for companies that want to enforce patents. Microsoft recently moved out of Germany because of the unbalanced of the german court system. Simon Roberts of BT complained about the german court system, which favours patent owners by separating infringement and validaty proceedings. A product can be banned from the german market even if the patent is found invalid a year later.

EU Patent Court will be located in Sealand, ministers say

Brussels, 1st April 2012 — The Council of European ministers agreed today on the location of the future European Patent Court, which is going to be located in Sealand, 10 kilometers off the English coast. The European patent community has finally achieved independence from elected parliaments. Georg Friedrich Reichmann, patent attorney in Munich, is happy about the agreement: “Sealand is the perfect location for the court. Since the patent system is a very special part of law, it should have its own court clearly detached from the law of the Member States. It is the final victory for the patent community to achieve independence – we have been trying to achieve that for more than 50 years.”

1&1 Internet AG receives German Document Freedom Award

Karlsruhe, 28 March 2012 — 1&1, GMX and WEB.DE receive the German Document Freedom Award for the use of Open Standards. The prize is awarded by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure e.V. (FFII). 1&1 is awarded for automatically adding XMPP for all customers of their mail services. The Document Freedom Award is awarded annually on the occasion of Document Freedom Day – the international day for Open Standards. Last years winners include tagesschau.de, Deutschland Radio, and the German Foreign Office.

EuroParliament to exclude Free Software with patents and FRAND

Brussels, 17 Feb 2012 — The European Parliament Consumer Committee is on the verge to reform the standardisation process in Europe. The reform recognises patented interface specifications which discriminate Free Software implementations. Royalties over standards create an unavoidable barrier of entry in the market for small software companies and independent developers. Benjamin Henrion, president of the association complains: “The payment of royalties makes it impossible to distribute free software on the web. It creates an enormous barrier of entry for small companies and independent developers.

European Standardisation Reform lowers the bar

Brussels, 10 February 2012 — The Consumer Committee (IMCO) within the European Parliament is considering an overhaul of the current standardisation system in Europe. The FFII presents a paper on the proposed recognition of ICT specifications from consortia. “They propose minimum rules against trade and antitrust abuses. It’s hard to imagine up an awkward specification which would fail the test”, explains FFII standards analyst André Rebentisch. The Commission proposal does not limit official recognition to ‘open specifications’ (royalty-free patent terms) but also makes consortial specifications under so called “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” (FRAND) qualify.

Poland is not lost – could challenge ACTA at the ECJ

Brussels, 26 January 2012 — Today the European Union and member states signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Tokyo, Japan. Signing is a first step to enable later ratification of the controversial agreement. The United States already announced they would not ratify it and their legislature would not be bound by it. According to the FFII signing is only the very start of the actual debate in Europe. “Our representatives in the European Parliament still have to decide whether to consent.

EP legal service consistently overlooks known issues with ACTA

Today the FFII sent a letter to the European Parliament about the EP legal service’s opinion on ACTA. (pfd version)
Brussels, 23 January 2012 — The European Parliament’s legal service consistently overlooks known issues with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), according to the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). In the coming months the European Parliament will have to decide whether to give consent to ACTA or not. In preparation, the Parliament’s International Trade and Legal Affairs committees asked the Parliament’s legal service an opinion on ACTA. The FFII compared the legal service’s opinion with multiple academic opinions on ACTA and some civil society analyses.