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EuroParl 2003EP 03/05EP 03/05/08EP 03/05/07People

2003/05/07-08 BXL: Software Patents: From Legal Wordings to Economic Reality

During this two-day interdisciplinary conference in Brussels, near and in the European Parliament, we will bring together programmers, engineers, entrepreneurs, law scholars, economists and politicians to explore the whole chain of causality from proposed patent law regulations to European policy goals, such as promoting innovation, competition, enterpreneurial spirit and consumer protection, unbureaucratic and target-oriented governance, legal security, favorable conditions for small and medium enterprises and "becoming the world's most competitive information society by 2010".

Time and Place

Simultaneous interpreting at least for DE-EN and FR-EN is available throughout the event.


2003/05/07 09.00-18.00Dorint HotelSymposium I: From Legal Semantics to Granted Software Patents
2003/05/07 20.00-22.00 Dinner
2003/05/08 09.00-12.30EuroParl ASP 01G2Greens Conference in Europarl: Software Patents and Small & Medium Enterprises
2003/05/08 13.00-14.30Luxemburg Square (Place du Luxembourg)Rally with Performance
2003/05/08 15.00-19.00Dorint HotelSymposium II: Economic Impact of Software Patents

Organisers and Sponsors





Open Society Institute

Stichting NLnet

MijnPoster / Vrijschrift


... (more to be listed soon)

Annotated Links

->2003/05/08 Brussels Software Patent Event Organisation Wiki
Alexandre Dulaunoy of AEL.be and friends from all over Europe are working to offer optimal onsite support for guests to the May 2003 European (Anti) Software Patent Event in Brussels.
->The Bright Side
Comments of Dr. Karl-Friedrich Lenz on the conference
->photos of the conference by Ward Vanderwege
Numerous photos from most of the sessions of this 2-day conference
->Lenz 2002-03-01: Sinking the Software Patent Proposal
Dr. Lenz on the incoherence of the Software Patent Directive Proposal of the European Commission and Arlene McCarthy, with references to our conference

see also Bundesregierung verklagt Brüssel wegen Kompetenzerschleichung unter dem Vorwand der "Binnenmarkt-Harmonisierung"

->Temps Reels: Conférence sur le projet de directive européenne ... les PME du secteur informatique et les libertés individuelles
Detailed French news report about the whole conference
->5 Dias: Europa se resiste a patentar el software
Spanish report about the conference
->Transfer.net: Les Verts européens et les PME s'associent aux militants du libre
Report about the conference, labels FFII as "militants of free software" and says that SMEs are on the side of the militants this time. Sees large monopolists such as Microsoft as the only beneficiaries and apparent driving forces behind the EU's push for software patents.
->Software Patents and SMEs, Green/EFA Conference, 8 May 2003
contains speeches and biographies of speakers
Photos from the Performance/Demo on Luxemburg Square
Photos from the Performance/Demo on Luxemburg Square
Video Clip from Greens/EFA Conference
->audio recordings from the conference
starts from morning of 2003/05/07, but first few minutes of Lessig speach seem to be lost
->Patentability Legislation Benchmarking Test Suite
In order to test a law proposal, we try it out on a set of sample innovations. Each innovation is described in terms of prior art, a technical contribution (invention) and a small set of claims. Assuming that the descriptions are correct, we then test our proposed legislation on them. The focus is on clarity and adequacy: does the proposed rule lead to a predictable verdict? Which of the claims, if any, will be accepted? Is this result what we want? We try out different law proposals for the same test series and see which scores best. Software professionals believe that you should "first fix the bugs, then release the code". Test suites are a common way of achieving this. Pursuant to Art 27 TRIPS, legislation belongs to a "field of technology" called "social engineering", doesn't it? Technology or not, it is time to approach legislation with the same methodological rigor that is applicable wherever bad design decisions can significantly affect people's lives.
->McCarthy 2003-02-19: Amended Software Patent Directive Proposal
Arlene McCarthy, British Labor MEP appointed by the European Parliament's Committee for Legal Affairs and the Internal Market (JURI) to report on the European Commission's Software Patentability Directive Proposal (CEC/BSA Proposal), suggests that the European Parliament should enact the CEC/BSA version with additional safeguards to align Europe on the US practise and make sure that there can be no limit on patentability. McCarthy reiterates the CEC/BSA software patent advocacy and misrepresents the wide-spread criticism without citing any of it. Even economic and legal expertises ordered by the European Parliament and other critical opinions of EU institutions are not taken into account. McCarthy's economic argumentation consists of tautologies and unfounded assertions, such as that companies like Ericsson and Alcatel need software patents to finance their R&D, that SMEs need european software patents in order to compete in the USA, that patents are needed to keep developping countries at bay. McCarthy uses the term "computer-implemented inventions" as a synonym for "software innovations". These "by their very nature belong to a field of technology". McCarthy insists that "irreconcilable conflicts" with the EPO must be avoided. McCarthy says she wants to "set clear limits as to what is patentable" -- and that she wants to avoid the "sterile discussions" about "technical effects" and "exclusions from patentability". Yet her proposal stays confined to such discussions. McCarthy demands that all useful ideas, including algorithms and business methods, must be patentable as "computer-implemented inventions". McCarthy proposes to recognise the EPO as Europe's supreme patent legislator and to make decisions of a few influential people at the EPO irreversible and binding for all of Europe.
->Swpat Conference Amsterdam 2002-08-30..1 (Columbanus Symposium)
Hartmut Pilch is attending a conference hosted by Prof. Bernt Hugenholz and Reinier Bakels from University of Amsterdam about the typology of innovations in the software and business method area and the implications of various rules for defining what is patentable, including the European Commission's recent proposal for a directive and hopefully also our widely supported counter-proposal.
->Information Economy and Swpat Conference Paris 20020610-1
Institut Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI.org) and Center of Information Policy Research at Mariland University (CIP.umd.org) are organising a transatlantic conference on information economy and in particular on the limits of patentability as well as the problems in neighboring areas such as database exclusion rights and copyright. Hartmut Pilch is participating on behalf of FFII and Eurolinux on two of the panels.
->Research on the MacroEconomic Effects of Patents
Since Fritz Machlups report to the US congress of 1958, a considerable number of studies about the economic effects of the patent system has accumulated. Some studies deal with certain types of innovation (sequential, complex systems) or with special areas such as semiconductors, genetics or computing rules (algorithms, mathematics). None seems to claim that the patent system has a positive effect on innovation in these fields. Most find strong indications for negative effects. Some governmental studies (e.g. by intellectual property institutes and the like) combine such negative findings with a recommendation to legalise software patents.
->Patent Jurisprudence on a Slippery Slope -- the price for dismantling the concept of technical invention
So far computer programs and other rules of organisation and calculation are not patentable inventions according to European law. This doesn't mean that a patentable manufacturing process may not be controlled by software. However the European Patent Office and some national courts have gradually blurred the formerly sharp boundary between material and immaterial innovation, thus risking to break the whole system and plunge it into a quagmire of arbitrariness, legal insecurity and dysfunctionality. This article offers an introduction and an overview of relevant research literature.

[ Software Patent Discussions in and near the European Parliament in 2003 → 2003/05/07-08 BXL: Software Patents: From Legal Wordings to Economic Reality | 2003/05/08 BXL: Software Patents and Europe's Competitivity | 2003/05/07 BXL Dorint: From Legal Wordplay to Granted Software Patents | 2003/05/07-8 BXL Swpat Conference Contributions ]

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