Simon Gentry and Software Patents

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Simon Gentry is a PR professional who works as a hired-gun outfit for corporate lobby groups. His last campaign which came to public attention was the "Campaign For Creativity" which apparently existed from 2003 to the end of 2005. His company shares the telephone numbers with the "Campaign for Creativity" and he i(or has been) the manager of the (C4C). As of May 2006, *www* redirects to Campbellgentry, Gentry's company, while shows the web site of adovcacy online, a company which is specialized in hosting ad-hoc internet lobbying campaigns. Apparently it was used for the technical part of C4C's web site.

Before launching C4C (which seems to have been a pro-copyright site initially and was just slowly changed into a campaign site for software patents), Gentry managed a very well funded and effective campaign in favor of gene patents in the EU. Gentry .

News & Chronology

For complete News and Chronology on the Campaign for Creativity see [CampaignForCreativityEn], this list only contains news which talk about Simon Gentry:


Gentry's Gene Patent Lobbying Campaign of 1999

Gentry lobbied for the pharmaceutical giant Smithkline Beecham (SB) on the EU Life Patent Directive issue:

30 million ECU (Eur) for a pro-EU Life Patent Directive campaign from a single company, what should be the budget for the pro-SWPAT campaign?

The pro-directive campaign eventually succeded by carrying lots of handicapped persons in wheel-chairs into the European Parliament and making them clamor for gene patents "because otherwise the medicines that save us will not be developped".

It should be noted that thanks to Gentry's successful campaigning the EU now has a directive which goes to such extremes in allowing gene patenting that even some big genetics companies are unhappy about it and some governments have tried to attack it at the European Court of Justice or to delay its implementation.

Arguments used by Gentry on Software Patents

Simon Gentry uses standard arguments he might have borrowed from the gene patents debate. Unfortunately they do not apply to software very well. Simon Gentry usually paints opponents in an impolite way. While he accuses others his level/lack of judicial and economical expertise in the field becomes evident.

Developers do not understand patent law (but he does)

Gentry in !ZDnet Talkback on 2004-12-14:

The article was not about programmers sitting around but talks at the UKPO. Patents are not common use in the software industry.

Wants to reverse the burden of proof

Gentry in !ZDnet Talkback on 2004-12-14:

Gentry reverses the burden of proof. Application of patent law to a certain field has to be justified. The natural state is a free market and we regard patent law as an incentive system which has to be justified by positive effects. Positive effects are the condition. Patents do not promote innovation by magical means, they are a tool. So do not apply patent law where it fails.

Secrecy argument

Quote from ZDNET talkback:

This is the classicle patent textbook argument but has no relation to reality, at least not in software.

Critics of Council/EUC Directive proposal were anticapitalist Open Source friends with agenda to destroy IP

Counter 'Big guy - small guy' argument

The romantics

FFII is not against patenting telephones and cars. The parliament's version permitts that. Gentry misinformes the public. Simon Gentry tries to inflame and polarise with ad hominem arguments.

Other findings

Simon Gentry, head of European affairs at the Association of British Insurers, which represents investors with 31,000bn of assets, said: "If there are restrictions, there is a risk that the returns of pension funds won't be as great as they could be." (1)

Mails to his campaign members

Thu, 3 Feb 2005 00:46:20 -0000

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