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Siemens und Logikpatente
Tag der Bananen-Union

Siemens hält etwa 50% der am Europäischen Patentamt angemeldeten deutschen Softwarepatente. Die Patentabteilung von Siemens beschäftigt in Deutschland 200 Mitarbeiter. Sie bestimmt maßgeblich die Verlautbarungen des ZVEI und anderer Verbände mit und haben in den 90er Jahren beim BGH Grundsatzurteile zugunsten von Softwarepatenten erwirkt. Siemens-Vorstand Heinrich von Pierer hat sich öffentlich für die Aufweichung des Richtlinienvorschlages des Europäischen Parlaments stark gemacht und durch Briefe an den Bundeskanzler u.a. dafür gesorgt, dass im Gegenvorschlag des Rates auch Rechenregeln und Geschäftsmethoden wieder patentierbar werden.
In the late 80s and early 90s, Arno Körber, head of the patent department of Siemens, successfully installed a patent incentive system at Siemens which made the patenting numbers soar to the sky and helped leveraging the economy-of-scale advantage of Siemens as a large company.

Many at Siemens are used to the patent system and associate success experiences with it. They are afraid that the continued informatisation of many problems will erode the advantages which they have drawn from the patent game. Basically their approach is conservative: they want to repeat past success experiences. In a similar spirit, they are afraid of the profound change in the patent system which this implies and therefore keen to reassure everybody that they or course "do not want business method patents". Yet this does not prevent the Siemens patent department from applying for lots of business method patents and trivial functionality patents (see tabular listing below), nor does it prevent the patent policy representatives of Siemens from strongly endorsing and supporting all legislative initiatives which make such patents obligatory. The fear of losing the patentopoly success experience is greater than the fear of patent inflation.

A newer current of opinion among engineers and managers at Siemens thinks more sceptically about the patent process. Younger managers have told us that "patents are a dragging our foot and not needed for protecting investments in the telecommunication sector". This may be related to their experience of negotiating with QualComm and other small companies who do not develop products but only patents and who assert these patents aggressively against big players such as Siemens. Many Siemens employees have signed the Petition for a Free Europe without Software Patents. Yet this current has so far not been able to influence the presentation of Siemens on the political stage.

Zu den hinsichtlich ihrer Patentpolitik von der Siemens-Patentabteilung stark beeinflussten Verbänden gehören u.a. ZVEI, Bitkom und BDI/Unice. Arno Körber war der Autor einer ZVEI-Stellungnahme für Softwarepatente im Sommer 1999. Körber und andere Siemens-Patentstrategen sind auch in Beiräten und Gremien der Patentwelt (EPA, AIPPI etc) aktiv. Siemens verfügt auch in Brüssel über ständige Vertreter, welche u.a. Positionen der Siemens-Patentabteilung transportieren.

Siemens has for many years cultivated very close strategic alliance with Microsoft, another firm with a keen interested in establishing software patents.

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© 2005/01/06 (2004/08/24) Arbeitsgruppe
deutsche Version 2004/12/15 von Hartmut PILCH