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LinuxPR: EuroLinux Petition Reaches 55,000 Signatures

Nov 20, 2000, 20:22 (1 Talkback[s])

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"The Diplomatic Conference to revise the European Patent Convention has started today in Munich. A key issue during this conference relates to the extension of the patent system to software in Europe. For obvious reasons related to its financial structure, the European Patent Office favours an extension of the patent system to software. However 55,000 citizens, including 2000 corporate executives, have signed so far the EuroLinux Petition to protect software innovation in Europe. 200 European companies are sponsoring the EuroLinux petition and more than 100 companies have publicly voiced out their opinion. There is a consensus among economists and computer programmers that an extension of the patent system to software would seriously harm innovation and competition in the European software industry (http://petition.eurolinux.org/reference/economy.html)."

"The EuroLinux petition was taken into account by the European Parliament which hosted on October 11th in Brussels a conference on Software patents and e-commerce in Europe (http://petition.eurolinux.org/europarl). The EuroLinux petition was taken into account by the European Commission on October 19th which is now researching the economic impact of software patents and organising a consultation (http://petition.eurolinux.org/pr5.html). Awareness on the dangers of software patents has raised to high levels within European politicians and civil servants circles. It is now admitted that software patents, as they exist in the United States, tend to harm innovation, create tremendous legal risks for small and medium enterprises and reduce the incentive for knowledge sharing."

"However, the European Patent Office (EPO) council of administration still plans to legalise software patents this week in Munich, during the ongoing revision conference of the Munich Convention This revision process is completely independent from the European Union. This revision process is mostly managed by official representatives of national patent offices at the EPO, who tend to vote, for obvious reasons, in favour of any extension of the patent system unless they receive strict instructions not to do so."

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