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LinuxPR: SOT, MySQL, and EFFi Team Up to Oppose Software Patents

May 28, 2002, 12:00 (2 Talkback[s])

Technology Center Hermia, Tampere, Finland, 22.5.2002

National governments within the European Union (EU) are preparing for negotiations over a proposed EU directive that could allow software patents within Europe. SOT has joined forces with MySQL AB and local lobby group Electronic Frontier Finland (EFFi) to file a statement to the Finnish Ministry of Trade and Industrial Affairs opposing the EU commission's proposal.

"Software patenting legislation in the United States was pushed through by powerful lobby groups in the 1980s, with almost no public discussion. Now multinational corporations are attempting to import the same system to Europe. It is of vital importance that the final choice is made by national, democratically elected decision-makers." says Mikko Valimaki, chairman of EFFi.

Software patents do not increase the competitiveness of European software companies. Instead, software patents threaten the ability of European companies to compete on the same level as big global companies.

"I am appalled to see certain companies claim to promote Open Source while patenting Open Source technologies. It is also unbelievable that, while the EU has shown support for Open Source software in the public sector, it is now going to harm those same development efforts by accepting software patents." commented Santeri Kannisto, CEO, SOT.

Software developers do not examine patent databases for new innovations. Patent applications are kept secret for 18 months, during which time software inventions lose their innovative value. Moreover, software patents do not include the software's source code, which is necessary to implement the invention. It should be remembered that a workable and commercially viable means of protecting software rights already exists through copyright law.

The Directive Proposal (22-pg PDF)

Press Release

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