|People||Frits BOLKESTEIN||John MOGG||Anthony Howard||Bernhard Müller||Paul Schwander|
|Internal Market Commissioner of the European Commission since 2000, leader of dutch right-wing liberal party VVD, known mainly by interventions in favor of the world's second largest pharmaceutical company, of whose supervisory board he is a member, and by various policies in favor of big business. Ever since he took office, Bolkestein firmly committed himself to the agenda for legalisation of software patents in Europe. A hardline pro-patent speech delivered by Bolkestein to a patent lawyer audience in Spain in June 2000 sparked off the largest petition on IT-related subject matter in history. From March to October 2000, Bolkestein's directorate kept a study secret which had warned of negative effects of software patents. In 2001, Bolkestein's directorate prevented follow-up to a consultation which had shown overwhelming public opinion against software patents. In February 2002, after a year of silence and almost no dialogue within the European Commission, Bolkestein's directorate published a draft directive "on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions", drafted in close collaboration with EPO and BSA, which was grudgingly accepted by other directorates due to pressure from Bolkestein and the UK Patent Office. This draft was condemned by many leading scientists and amended into its opposite by the European Parliament in September 2003. During this time, Bolkestein pretended that his directive was designed to prevent patents on "pure software" and business methods and was the only viable way of achieving this aim. Shortly before the Parliament's vote, Bolkestein threatened that the Commission would withdraw the directive if the Parliament voted as it later did. Later Bokestein moaned in front of his patent lawyer audiences that "we" (including the audience) had done the real work of careful and balanced analysis but had failed to convey "our" message against a tide of ignorance and misinformation. In these same patent lawyer rallies where Bolkestein feels at home, the "misinformers" (also called "detractors" or "open source and anti-globalisation movement" by Bolkestein) are always carefully excluded from participation. Many panels are about economics, but the economic expertise always comes from patent lawyers, never from economists.|
Bolkestein is known for his affiliations with big pharma, one of the main force behind the Commission drive for extreme interpretations of Art 30 TRIPs, as can be seen from a WTO complaint filed by the Commission against Canada. This complaint was filed before Bolkestein became Internal Market Commissioner. However Bolkestein's later moves in favor of Microsoft may be related to these pharma patent interests as much as to Microsoft itself.
As an Internal Market commissioner, Bolkestein pushed for "harmonisation" of food supplement regulations in Europe which were heavily criticised as favoring big pharma corporations and disadvantaging natural health foods.
Another Bolkestein project aimed at removing regulatory safeguards from stock markets. Here, as in the software patent directive project, Arlene McCarthy was one of Bolkestein's main allies in the Parliament, but ultimately failed.