patenthearing060712En

The public hearing on the future patent policy in Europe (Brussels, 12 July 2006)


Here is the draft agenda of the public hearing on the future patent policy in Europe to be held on the 12th July 2006. The European Commission (EC) will first present a document outlining the preliminary findings of the consultation based on replies received until 12 April 2006. Then, the Internal Market DG will directly consult stakeholders on their needs in relation to the legal framework and possible actions in the field of industrial property. The EC 39 selected stakeholders are supposed to "represent the balance of opinion in the written replies will speak on the issues raised" during the hearing. As you will see, patents proponents are mainly represented. There will also be time for an "open debate" and a presentation from the president of the European Patent Office (EPO), professor Alain Pompidou.


Location

European Commission, "Charlemagne" Room S3, Rue de la Loi 170, Brussels

Agenda


On 39 speakers, about 29 are pro patents and only 4 oppose software patents and 1 oppose biotechnical patents. It remains 6 speakers whose opinion on the question is unknown.

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Speakers

1. MEDEF (Mr Thierry Sueur)

Pro patents in general

Thierry Sueur works for the MEDEF (Mouvement des entreprises de France), a corporation gathering industrials and important firms in France. He is the President of the Intellectual propriety Commitee. MEDEF is pro software patents. Very close to INPI (Institut national de la propriété intellectuelle), MEDEF has even published in 2004 a "Manifeste pour les brevets", this manifest was included in appendices of MEDEF's answer to the consultation . At the time, FFII has produced an analysis of the manifest.

MEDEF official website

2. CARE FOR EUROPE (Mr David Fieldsend)

Against patents concerning biotechnology

David Fieldsend is the Manager of CARE for Europe (Christian Action Research & Education). Care for Europe is a UK group of interests registered in Belgium as an AISBL and supported by churches & individuals across Europe. Care for Europe works as a lobby rallying support in favour of the Christian, pro-life and pro-family point of view. Care for Europe opposes especially biotechnology patents.

Care for Europe official website

3. ACT (Mr Jonathan Zuck)

Pro software patents

Jonathan Zuck works as President for the Association for Competitive Technology, a Washington based lobbying proxy for Microsoft. Zuck also took part the EU debate over the antitrust ruling against Microsoft as a lobbying hitman and recently also got involved in software patents lobbying.

FFII page on Jonathan Zuck

ACT official website

4. CEFIC (Mr Mike Barlow)

Pro patents on chemical applications

Though Mike Barlow will represent the CEFIC (the European Chemical Industry Council), he is also the President of the principal Industry IP body in the UK, the Patents Committee of the Trade Marks, Patents and Designs Federation. He is also a member of the UNICE IP Group. Mike Barlow participated in the 2003 Royal Society study on the effect of IP on science and is a member of the UK Government’s Community Patent and Litigation Focus Groups. He has lectured in both Europe and the USA on IP issues.

CEFIC official website

5. FFII (Mr Pieter Hintjens)

Against software patents

Pieter Hintjens is the CEO of iMatix Corporation, and the author of numerous software tools published by iMatix. He is also the president of the FFII, an information rights organisation based in Munich, with chapters in 20 countries. FFII strongly opposed with success the software patent directive from 2003 to 2005.

FFII official website

6. ProTon (Mr Gilles Capart)

Pro software patents

Gilles Capart is the Président of Proton-Europe (Public Research Organisation Transfer Office Network - Europe). He is doctor in physical sciences in ULC and MBA professor at Boston University Knowledge Transfer Offices (Proton Europe). Proton-Europe is the IT branch of Gate2Growth which is a pan-European Business and innovation platform for IT business issues in general. Close to the European (EC) Commission and to the European Patent Office (EPO), Gate2Growth sees software patents as a key "to protect innovation".

Gate2growth official website

1. LEEM / Sanofi – Aventis (Mme Elisabeth Thouret-Lemaître)

Pro pharmaceutical patents

Elisabeth THOURET-LEMAITRE works for Sanofi-aventis, the French world number four company in the pharmaceutical industry. She also represents LEEM (LEs Entreprises du Médicament), a french lobby advocating for biotechnology and pharmaceutical patents. She has also been mandated by the European Patent Office (EPO).

Sanofi-Aventis official website

LEEM official website

2. Volvo (Mr Werner Frohling)

Pro software patents

Werner FRÖHLING is an European Patent Attorney and Volvo Technology Corporation Head of Corporate Patents. Werner FRÖHLING is also close to the World Intellectual Proprety Office (WIPO). Volvo supported the Council position in September 2003 pro software patents through its representative office in Brussels.

Volvo official website

See also the article written by Harmut Pilch "Software Patent Loser Volvo lobbying for Uncommon Position"

3. Bosch (Mr Bertram Huber)

Pro software patents

Bertram Huber works in the Bosh Corporate intellectual property department. Like Siemens and other large german corporations, Bosch supported the CII directive from 2003 to 2005, thus opposing the srong "Mittelstand" (the German term for SMEs)

Bosch official website

4. Qualcomm (Mr George Whitten)

Pro software patents

George Whitten is a UK chartered patent attorney, a certified patent litigator, and a European Patent Attorney. He has entered the patent profession in 1986 from an electrical engineering background. In 1993 he became a partner in a London-based IP firm where he specialized in patent matters relating to image processing, telecommunications and information technology. In 2000 he joined QUALCOMM Inc. to work on European Oppositions and is now responsible for the preparation, filing, and other formal aspects of QUALCOMM’s international and foreign patent applications. Recently, Qualcomm has been engaging a litigation against Nokia for infringing six patents.

Qualcomm official website

See FFII software patent news from the 15th June

5. Romania NPO (Mr Alexandru Cristian Strencc)

?

Alexandru Cristian Strencc works for a Romania NPO / NGO.

6. GRUR (Mr Frank-Erich Hufnagel)

Pro software patents

Frank-Erich Hufnagel has been a partner of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and works in the Düsseldorf office. Within the IP/IT group, he is the responsible partner for patent litigation. He has built up the patent litigation team in Düsseldorf and is representing a wide range of national and international clients before the specialised patent courts in Germany. He is member of a number of Intellectual Property bar associations such as EPLAW, AIPLA and VPP and severs on the Patent Law Committee of GRUR (Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht). Frank-Erich is the author of numerous articles on IP related matters as well as on multimedia.

GRUR official website

1. UEAPME (Ms Maria Cimaglia)

Against software patents

Maria Cimaglia is the legal affairs adviser of the UEAPME (European Association of Craft Small and Medium-sized Entreprises), the employer's organisation representing the interests of European crafts, trades and SMEs at EU level. UEAPME is a recognised European Social Partner. It is a non-profit seeking and non-partisan organisation.The UEAPME strongly opposed the CII directive from 2003 to 2005 and directly supported Florian Mueller in his campaign Nosoftwarepatents.

See the UEAPME position papers concerning software patents on

2. EADS (Mr Michel Herouf)

Pro software patents

Michel Herouf works in the EADS Intellectual Proprety department. The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS N.V. (EADS) is a large European aerospace corporation, formed by the merger on July 10, 2000 of Aérospatiale-Matra of France, Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA) of Spain, and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG (DASA) of Germany. The EPO has already delivered several patents to EADS such as the EP1221250, a Method for setting up communication between terminals connected to a switching system...

EADS official website

3. BDI (Mr Lothar Steiling)

Pro software patents

The BDI (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrieis) is the federation of German industries, the equivalent of the MEDEF in France. Very close to UNICE, the BDI is pro-patent. Lothar Steiling, Chief Patent Counsel IP-Management, Bayer AG, working for the BDI said in one of his presentation.

"The BDI, of course, is in favor of a harmonized system [...]. We want a harmonized system, but we only can accept is as package solution"

BDI official website

4. Fraunhofer Institute (Mr Helmut Schubert)

Pro software patents

Fraunhofer Institutes are branches of Fraunhofer Gesellschat. For instance, the Institut Algorithmen and Wissenschaftliches Rechnen or the Fraunhofer Patentstelle für die deutsche Forschung where Helmut Schubert worked and which promotes software patents.

5. BEUC (Ms Cornelia Kutterer)

Against software patents

Cornelia Kutterer is the Senior Legal Adviser of the BEUC (European Consumer's Association), a NGO defending the consumer's rights. From 2003 to 2004, the BEUC called upon the European Parliament to vote for real limits on software patentability. the BEUC called upon the European Parliament to reinsert Article 9 of the Parliament resolution. BEUC seriously opposes software patents.

BEUC official website

See also

6. Perm. Repres. of Italy (Mr Pignatti)

?

7. Perm. Repres. of France (Mr Fabien Raynaud)

Pro software patents

Fabien Raynaud is the permanent representative of France and legal affairs adviser in intellectual proprety. Fabien Raynaud seems to be pro software patents.

See the web page

8. PIMEC (Mr Marcelino Currel - Suñol)

Against software patents

PIMEC (micro, petita i mitjana empresa de catalunya) is the spanish voice of small and medium-sized entreprises. They may share the UEAPME against software patents as well.

PIMEC official website

9. ICC Paris (Ms Catherine Druez - Marie)

Pro software patents

Catherine Druez-Marie is an intellectual proprety jurist working for the ICC- Paris (International Chamber of Commerce) which is the voice of world business championing the global economy as a force for economic growth. The ICC's "Intellectual Property Committee", consisting of 240 corporate "IP professionals" from around the world, vigorously defendeds the interests of the patent community in Europe. The ICC works closely with intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations involved in intellectual property policy, such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the International Association for the Protection of Industrial Property (AIPPI) and the Licensing Executive Society (LES).

ICC official website

See FFII web page

10. ECIS (Mr Thomas Vinje)

Pro software patents with a close of interoperability

Thomas Vintje is a lawyer working for the ECIS (European Committee for Interoperable Systems), which has filed comments on the Commission's consultation on future patent policy in Europe. In its submission, ECIS advocates a patent policy that is based on the fostering of competition and innovation for the benefit of consumers, accomplished by ensuring appropriate standards of patentability and examination, as well as by appreciating the important role played by interoperability. ECIS also urged the Commission to ensure adequate safeguards against misuse of the patent system. The greatest threat to an effective and credible patent system that serves all interests is the use of the patent system in a manner that subverts it, for example, by allowing entities to accumulate patents for the mere purpose of extricating royalties by threatening to stop the commercialisation of a product utilising the patent, without the entities implementing the patented technologies themselves, by using patents to prevent interoperability with dominant products or platforms, or by late disclosure of standards-related patents.

ECIS official webpage

See for further information

11. Perm. Repres. of Belgium (Mr Patrick Herman)

?

12. MERCK (Mr Charles Bouchard)

Pro pharmaceutical patents

Charles Bouchard works for Merck operates in the Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals business sectors. MERCK promotes pharmaceutical patents as a key to protection the research & development long-term process.

MERCK official website

1. THOMSON (Mr Didier Huck)

Pro software patents

Didier Huck is Thomson Vice President (Public Affairs and Regulation department). On the behalf of Thomson, he supports the EPLA. Thomson is a major software patent owner in France.

Thomson official website:

2. ICC UK (Mr Richard Fawcett)

Pro software patents

Richard F. Fawcett is an intellectual property consultant working for Bird and Bird (UK) and ICC. ICC promotes vigorous legislation for the protection of all kinds of intellectual property, including trademarks, patents and copyright, at national, regional and international levels. It believes that the protection of intellectual property stimulates international trade and exchanges of goods and services, creates a favorable climate for foreign direct investment, and encourages transfers of technology and inventions.

ICC official website

3. Eurochambers (Mr Pierre Simon)

Pro patents in general

Pierre Simon is the Président of The Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Eurochambers). Eurochambers strongly supports the European Commission’s efforts to re-start discussions to reach an effective patent system in Europe. Eurochambers believes that the lack of progress on an EU wide patent regime significantly hinders the innovation potential of European enterprises, especially SMEs.

"SMEs are discouraged when they try to protect their inventions in the single European market as nearly as many patent systems exist as there are EU countries. In addition, language barriers pose a huge problem. A simplified regime must be adopted".

See its complete answer to the Commission consultation

Eurochambers official website

4. German Federal Patent Court (Mr Raimund Lutz)

Pro software patents

Raimund Lutz is the head of Department at the German Ministry of Justice and works for the German Federal Patent Court (Bundespatentgericht). Though the German Federal Patent Court (Error Search decision, 26 March 2002, BPatG 17 W (pat) 69/98) rejected in 2002 an EPO patent on a non-technical innovation and pointed out that the EPO's doctrine of "technical contribution" makes all business methods patentable and is therefore in violation of the European Patent Convention. Raimund Lutz clearly promotes software patentability, supports the European Patent Office practices and will undoubtly make the promotion of the European Patent Litigation Agreement.

See for further information the FFII web page

On Raimund Lutz

German Federal Patent Court official website

5. Patentanwalts (Mr Eugen Popp)

?

Eugen Popp is the president of Patentanwalts.

6. ICT Ireland (Ms Hanah Grene)

Pro software patents

Hana Grene works for ICT Ireland, a representative lobby group for the high tech or knowledge sector within IBEC (Irish Business Employers Confederation). The association represents over 300 companies, both foreign owned and indigenous. ICT Ireland promoted the CII directive from 2003 to 2005. Kathryn Raleigh, director of ICT Ireland said:

"Basically any company which supports innovation and is involved in research and development would support this directive"

For further information

ICT Ireland official website

7. Nokia (Mr Tim Frain)

Pro software patents

Tim Frain is the Nokia head corporate patent lawyer. Nokia seems absolutely pro software patents. Their IP patent department did lots of lobbying in conferences and in the European Parliament inf favour of the CII directive from 2003 to 2005

See FFII web page "Nokia and software patents"

8. BASF (on behalf of UNICE)(Mr Klaus-Dieter Langfinger)

Pro patents on chemical applications

Klaus-Dieter Langfinger is the BASF (Baden Aniline and Soda Factory) corporate patent lawyer. BASF is a German chemical company and the biggest chemical company in the world. BASF promotes biotechnical and pharmaceutical patents.

BASF official website

9. FICPI (Mr Daniel Alge)

Pro patents in general

Daniel Alge is an intellectual propriety adviser specialised biotechnical patents and patent litigations.He belongs to the FICPI (Fédération International des Conseils en Propriété industrielle) a non-political, world-wide organisation of intellectual property attorneys in private practice. FICPI works closely with the European Patent Office (EPO) and supports its patent policy.

FICPI official web page

10. AIPPI (Mr Luis – Alfonso Duran)

Pro software patents

Luis-Alfonso Durán is the AIPPI (Association internationale pour la protection de la propriété industrielle)co-director, the world's leading International Organization dedicated to the development and improvement of intellectual property. AIPPI promotes software patentability. Luis – Alfonso Duran is also FICPI vice-president.

AIPPI official website

11. FEMIPI (Mr Paul Georg Maué)

Pro patents in general

Since 1988, Mr. Maué isworking at Ciba-Geigy Switzerland, Patent Department, which in 1997 became Corporate Intellectual Property Group Novartis Switzerland. He is a member of EPPC European PatentPractice Committee epi and Vice-President of FEMIPI (Fédération Européenne des Mandataires de l'Industrie en Propriété Industrielle), the European Federation of Agents of Industry in Industrial Property. The purpose of the Federation is the study, development and protection of the professional interests of industrial property agents in industry.

FEMIPI official website

12. Deutscher Anwaltverein (Ms Eva Schriever)

?

Eva Schriever works for the Deutscher Anwaltverein is a german lawyer association aims at protecting the interests of the German attorneys. "Safeguarding, protection and promotion of all professional and economical interests of the Bar, notary lawyers included, especially by promoting administration of justice and legislation, education and further training, encouragement of professional solidarity and scientific spirit among lawyers. It aimes at uniting all lawyers in Germany. The association observes political and confessional neutrality".

Deutscher Anwaltverein official website

13. Open Source Community (Mr Florian Mueller)

Against software patents

Florian Mueller is the foundator of the NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign in 2004 and transferred it to the FFII in 2005. Florian Mueller is also known for having been involved in the European publishing and distribution of American software products in various market segments (see Warcraft II).From 2001 to 2004, he was an adviser to the CEO of MySQL AB, now the largest European open-source software company. It is may be why is has been chosen to represent the Open source community.Florian Mueller speaks against software patents.

Florian Mueller's Blog

14. IIPTC (Mr Allen Dixon)

Pro software patents

In 1999, the IFPI (International Federation of Phonogram and Videogram Producers) has appointed Allen Dixon, one of the leading international specialists in copyright and anti-piracy in the information technology field, to the newly-created position of General Counsel.IFPI represents the recording industry worldwide with over 1450 members in 75 countries and affiliated industry associations in 48 countries. IFPI's priorities are: fighting music piracy, promoting fair market access and adequate copyright laws, helping develop the legal conditions and the technologies for the recording industry to prosper in the digital era, and promoting the value of music in the development of economies, as well as in social and cultural life.

IFPI Official website

15. CEA (Mr Gustaaf Daemen)

?

Gustaaf Daemen is the CEO of CEA (Comité européen des assurances).

CEA official website


Background explanations

Public hearing next 12 July - European Commission strikes back

Software are not patentable in Europe, in despite of the European Patent Office practices and the attempt by the European Commission to legalize these same practices with the directive on Computer implemented-inventions (CII) from 2003 to 2005. In fact, a software patent system in Europe could only be counterproductive and disastrous for economic development.

For more information on the threat of software patents,see the US Blackberry case which perfectly illustrates that patent system is not adapted to ensure software IP protection, and even is dangerous to innovative and competitive businesses.

http://wiki.ffii.org/BlackberryEn

However, the battle against software patents is not finished.

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In January 2006, the European Commission started a public consultation "on the future of the Community Patent in Europe" on the pretext of promoting of developing free market and protecting innovation. In reality, the aim is to legalize software patents by transferring EU and member state legislative and judicial power to the European Patent Office. FFII first questioned the validity of the procedure, based on the serious lack of accessibility, which means that a majority of EU businesses were completely excluded from answering. That's why FFII recommended participation to those businesses that are able to do so, for "Open democracy" means more transparency and effective hearings of all stakeholders... Following a formal complaint by FFII to the European Commission's President Barroso, European the Commission agreed to extend its deadline from 31 March 2006 to 12 April 2006.

The next step after the public consultation is the public hearing taking place the 12th July. The Commission is first supposed to present a document outlining the preliminary findings of the consultation based on replies received until 12 April 2006. But is highly possible the total number of answers worrying against the reintroduction of software patents won't be revealed as it is the habit of the European Commission. Then, the Internal Market DG will directly consult stakeholders on their needs in relation to the legal framework and possible actions in the field of industrial property. The European Commission 39 selected "stakeholders" supposed to reflect the balance of opinion in the written replies will speak on the issues raised during the hearing. In reality, the great majority are patents proponents, mostly software patent proponents like Nokia, Qualcomm, ICT Ireland, Thomson...

One of the most important topics will be the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA), which is a proposed patent law agreement aimed at creating an optional protocol to the European Patent Convention (EPC), which would commit its signatory states to an integrated judicial system. The main driving force behind the EPLA is legalising software patents and business method patents via case law, under the assumption that the European Patent Convention still forbids those with the European Patent Office nevertheless granting them since the mid 1980s. Moreover The proposed "European Patent Judiciary" would lack independent judges and sufficient democratic control.

For more information, see http://wiki.ffii.org/EplaEn

It seems that software patents are coming by the back doors, mainly through the European Patent litigation Agreement (EPLA) pushed by both the European Commission and the European Patent Office, in despite of the decision of the European Parliament to definitively bury the CII directive on the 6 July 2006. But the European Commission strikes back.

Of course, FFII attend to this public consultation and Pieter Hintjens will speak in the name of FFII in order to defend the general interest of European software companies, accompanied with Florian Mueller who will speak in the name of the Open source communities. FFII is not alone, it seems that only 4 other NGOs will speak against the threat of the European Patent Litigation Agreement.

- UEAPME (Maria Cimaglia)

- BEUC (Cornelia Kutterer)

- PIMEC (Marcelino Currel - Suñol)

- ECIS (Thomas Vinje)

Welcome to the world of the European democracy and fair economic representativity.

For more information, see the FFII consultation website on http://consultation.ffii.org/EU and the internal market website on http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/indprop/patent/consultation_en.htm

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