Saying "No" to software patents in Europe

Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) will be holding a protest in Brussels against the latest attempt to bring software patents to Europe, a move that is being pushed by Nokia.

FFII is a non-profit association registered in Munich and dedicated to the spread of data processing literacy. FFII supports the development of public information goods based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 300 members, 700 companies and 50,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions in the area of exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.

According to the FFII's web site:

"In February 2002, the European Commission proposed a directive that would legalise software patents. However, the European Parliament decided in its Plenary Vote of 24th September 2003 to fix all the loopholes in this proposal and explicitly banned software patents.

Currently, the European Council of Ministers is discussing this directive. Their internal working party proposes to simply discard all clarifying amendments from the Parliament. They want to make everything patentable.

That is not an option Europe is willing to accept. We showed them this on 27 August 2003. We will show them again on 14 April 2004."

There is also an online demo that companies and individuals can support by adding a protest page or banners to their sites.

It has always been my position that software patents are very dangerous. None of us would be able to write applications had truly unique processes in the software field been patented in the early days. Constructs such as the for-loop, while-loop, stack, hash table, objects, etc. We are currently seeing the fallout from software patents in the US and I hope with all my heart that we can stop software patents from becoming law in Europe.