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NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign site officially online



NoSoftwarePatents.com Launches Campaign
Against Software Patents in the EU

1&1, Red Hat and MySQL AB are corporate partners – Web site starts in 12 languages – Campaign warns that software patents are used for anti-competitive purposes

Munich, Germany (20 October 2004). A new campaign against software patents in the EU was launched today in 12 languages at
www.NoSoftwarePatents.com.


The campaign is managed by Florian Müller of SWM Software-Marketing
GmbH, a software industry veteran with almost 20 years of expertise, and is supported by three corporate partners: 1&1, Red Hat, and MySQL AB. The campaign manager will discuss the issue of software patents with
politicians and the media.


"Software patents are used for anti-competitive purposes, stifle
innovation, and would cost the entire economy and society dearly", Florian Müller said. "On the bottom line, they create more injustice than justice. There is only a small group of people in the patent system who would benefit from them, and some large American corporations have ulterior motives. The public interest must prevail because every European citizen, every European company and every European government would end up paying a high price for such a monumental mistake."


"This is 450 million people against no more than 100,000, but the
100,000 have disproportionate influence. We call on everyone – especially Web site operators – to support this campaign. We are now in the decisive stage of the legislative process."


Software is already protected by copyright law. The European Patent
Convention does not allow patents on software, but tens of thousands of
software patents have been granted in Europe. The European Union
(www.europa.eu.int) is currently in a legislative process on a software
patent directive. In September of last year, the European Parliament
(www.europarl.eu.int) proposed a directive that would do away with
software patents. In May of this year, the EU Council (www.consilium.eu.int) announced a political agreement on a directive that would establish a software patent regime similar to that of the United States. Under that legislation, the only major difference between the U.S. and Europe would be how a patent application is presented, not what is patentable. The EU Council was widely expected to formally adopt that legislative proposal last month and to refer the matter back to the European Parliament, but the Council postponed the decision and could still alter course. Software patents are on the agenda of the German parliament ("Bundestag") for tomorrow.


Commenting on the campaign's focus on transparency, Müller continued by saying that "many governments and others spread misinformation about software patents and the directive, and our campaign will relentlessly debunk the untruths". He pointed out that reputable organizations such as Deutsche Bank Research (www.dbresearch.com), PriceWaterhouseCoopers
(www.pwc.com) and the Kiel Institute for World Economics (www.uni-kiel.de/ifw) have already warned of the negative implications of software patents to Europe.


Müller concluded, "Anyone who mistakenly believes that patents are the
same as copyright will see that this campaign is supported by successful
businesses who protect their software development investments on the
basis of copyright law. I have been living off copyright law for almost 20 years myself. Copyright protects innovators – software patents are used as weapons against innovators."


The campaign Web site will provide content in all official EU languages. The content is initially available in (alphabetically) Czech, Dutch,
English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish. More translations are in progress.


About the Campaign Partners

The views expressed by the campaign are those of the campaign manager
and not necessarily those of the campaign partners.

1&1 (www.1and1.org) is part of the United Internet group (www.unitedinternet.com), a publicly traded German company that projects revenues of EUR 506 million and pre-tax profits above EUR 80 million this year. United Internet's wholly owned subsidiaries 1&1 and
Schlund+Partner (www.schlund.de) position the group as one of Europe's largest Internet presence providers with over 3 million customers and 4.5 million Internet domains. The group also operates the GMX (www.gmx.com) E-mail service with 19 million user accounts.


Red Hat (NASDAQ:RHAT, www.redhat.com) is the world's premier Linux and
open source provider, and the most recognized Linux brand in the world.
With 27 offices worldwide, the company expects revenues in its current fiscal year around US$ 200 million. For the most recent fiscal quarter, Red Hat reported net income of US$ 11.8 million on revenue of US$ 46.3 million.


MySQL AB (www.mysql.com) of Sweden is Europe's largest open source
software company. The company's flagship product is MySQL, the world's most popular open source database, with more than 5 million active installations. MySQL AB is privately-held, with approximately EUR 17 million of venture capital invested in the company.


About the Campaign and its Campaign Manager

On www.nosoftwarepatents.com, please click on "About the Campaign" to
learn more about the campaign and its campaign manager.

Contact Information

Florian Müller
SWM Software-Marketing GmbH
Starnberg, Germany
sslug@sslug


 
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