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Software Patents > Events > 2004 > Brussels 04/11/09
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2004-11-09..11 Brussels: Regulating Knowledge -- Costs, Risks and Models of Innovation
Commemorate Banana Union Day

On 9-10 November of 2004, FFII and others are organising a conference on the software patent directive proposal and related issues in and near the European Parliament in Brussels.
On 9-10 November of 2004 a Conference on the effects of patents, copyright and other regulatory regimes on the knowledge-based economy will take place in and near the European Parliament in Brussels. The conference is organised by the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) in cooperation with the Maastricht Institute for Research in Information Economics (MERIT) and members of the European Parliament. It is the third conference of its kind and may be accompanied by other activities concerning ongoning legislation on the limits of patentability with regard to software and business methods in the European Union. Practitioners, scientists and legislators will try to subject proposed or envisaged legislation to rigid "debugging", i.e. testing for consistency and efficacy. Players of the recent transatlantic "patent insurance" and "open source risk managment" debate will meet for the first time. Representatives of the patent faith are invited to present examples of what they consider "good patents" for "computer-implemented inventions". Authors of recent studies will assess the efficiency of the patent system in today's innovation and the viability of alternative models such as "industrial copyright".
2004-11-09 tueHotel near ParliamentSpecialist Panels
2004-11-10 wedEuropean ParliamentPolitical Panels

(More Information Conference Preparation Workspace This workspace contains more current information, especially concerning the speakers who have so far accepted our invitation.)

Each panel will consist of 1/3 introduction (usually a presentation by one panelist), 1/3 discussion between the panelists and 1/3 discussion with the audience. As in the past, most panelists will be chaired by members of the European Parliament.

In late August 2004, the city of Munich announced a delay of a public tender for implementation of its "Linux base client" due to imponderabilities of pending EU software patent legislation. Shortly before that, a discussion about "open source risk managment" had erupted in the United States. Both discussions are highly controversial. We bring the players togehter.
We challenge the patent lobby (e.g. EPO, DG Internal Market or EICTA) to show us an example of a desirable claim to what they like to call a "computer-implemented invention", and to explain how they want such claims to be distinguished from undesirable claims.

Protagonists of the Council's and the Parliament's version will debate.

As we did not provide enough time on April 14, such a debate has not really happened yet.

Much of today's hardware is really a kind of write-only software, similar to architecture, where the material medium is completely modelled and a construction plan can be safely expected to work. Where the forces of nature are not yet reduced to reliable computational models, experiments are often carried out in batches of thousands per day, potentially leading to dozens of patents in one day, most of which are not practised but only stockpiled.

Under such conditions, a system of hardcoded broad claims (patents) is likely to perform less well than a system of narrow and informally accruing claims.

This panel will examine our hypothesis that the duality of patents vs copyright law is a thing of the past and future lies in an integrated system based on copyright-like principles, possibly combined with some sui-generis system for special niches.

While comedies such as "Yes Minister" poke fun at the circumvention of democracy by civil servants at the national level, the EU seems to have added an extra layer of circumvention. A lare series of legislative proposals that promote the interests of ministerial bureaucracies at the expense of citizens and SMEs have been laundered through the EU's legislative processes. Checks and balances have been largely put out of function at this level, and political newspeak known from dictatorial states has become entrenched and is regularly used to evade whatever informed discussion may still be taking place. The European Parliament's strong stance on the Software Patent directive is seen by many as an exceptional phenomenon, and has made some conflicts highly visible that otherwise are difficult to study. As symbolised in the celebration of September 24th as "EU Democracy Day", it may be even be interpreted as a possibly important fork in the path of the EU toward the development of sane legislative processes.
[ FFII: Software Patent Events 2004 → 2004-11-09..11 Brussels: Regulating Knowledge -- Costs, Risks and Models of Innovation | Legislation Benchmarking Conference Brussels 2004/04/13-15 | CeBit 2004-03-18..24 | WIPO 2004-05-10..4 Geneva Patent Policy Session | Local Action Days 2004/05/08-12 | Parliamentary Evening Berlin 2004-03-10 ]
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english version 2004/08/16 by Hartmut PILCH