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LinuxPR: Massive Support for the EuroLinux Petition

Jul 24, 2000, 15:32 (0 Talkback[s])

"20,000 citizens, including 300 corporate executives, have signed so far the EuroLinux Petition for a Software Patent Free Europe after one month. The EuroLinux Petition was launched on 15th May 2000 to protect software innovation in Europe and oppose current plans of the European Commission to legalise software patents in Europe."

"The current 20,000 individual signatures mainly consist of individual IT professionals, including 300 corporate executives (CEO, CTO, CFO, etc.), about 50 companies and more than 20 non-profit associations. Quite interestingly, many employees from large corporations such as IBM, Siemens or Alcatel took the risk of signing the Eurolinux petition and express their strong opposition to the active pressures which are being put on the European Commission by their legal department in favour of a broad software patent system in Europe. EuroLinux takes this as an evidence that patent attorneys working for large corporations may not always understand the economic interest of their employer, but certainly do understand their own."

"Philip Sargent, CEO of Metaweb, a Cambridge-based web-database development company at the heart of Silicon Fen, says: "we have seen the obvious and anti-competitive effect that software patents have had on the US software industry and we must not let it happen here. Despite the logical arguments in favour of software patents, the side-effects are demonstrably more important and far-reaching. There is definite and wide-spread hard evidence to support the case that software patent portfolios are mostly used as bargaining counters in takeover negotitations and in bludgeoning smaller companies without large legal staffs. The role of patents in helping to reward investment in developing new technology is unproven; even though that is their primary purpose in non-software industries. The difference is one of pace: a key new software idea is protected not by legal defence, but by investing in it and making it work. Increasingly we are seeing that most new key ideas, e.g. the web, HTML, Linux etc. are provided free of patent restrictions and that this is both profitable and public-spirited."

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