25 May 2012

Anti-Software-Patent Campaigners count on François Hollande

In our today's article "Anti-Patent Campaigners put their trust in François Hollande as EU Council attends to Unitary Patent Court again" on the ksnh::law blog we attend to the reopening of negotiations on the Unitary Patent Court at next week's Competitiveness Council meeting on May 31/June 1 (see draft agenda, item 19) and the influence anti-software-patent campaigners such as the French April group may have on the process now as socialist François Hollande took office as the new President of France.

In fact, Fleur Pellerin (@fleurpellerin), responsible for the digital economy in Hollande’s campaign team and now Deputy Minister responsible for SMEs, gave some disturbing answers (pdf, french) in a tendentious pre-election questionnaire regarding issues like computer-implemented inventions, the EPO, or the planned EU Unified Patent Court:

  • The patentability of software would induce a partitioning of innovation that would be harmful to the ecosystem seen in its digital together. I am therefore opposed to the patenting of software.
  • It is essential that the patent office’s practice is consistent with what tax payers and the public expect of the patent system
  • reform of the control structures of the EPO appears to be required. The European Union as the major legislator of innovation policy in Europe should have more control.
  • “I am unhappy with creating specialized courts entrusted to ”expert judges” from the group of patent attorneys.
  • It has already been found in the US that the patent chambers of the CAFC unwarrantedly extended the scope of patentability to sectors which the patent system was not made for.
  • It is unjust that patent offices and firms who should execute the industry policy as set by the legislator can exercise legislative power by defining this policy themselves
Those pre-election opinions of Ms Pellerin and Mr Hollande pretty much sound like what Lionel Allorge, President of the April group, expects of Mr Hollande at the coming Competitive Council:
“With this first Competitiveness EU Council, the French president and the government have a unique opportunity to act against software patents and on the legal uncertainties that threaten Free Software as well as many companies, especially SMEs and SMIs, by preventing them from innovating. [...] An overhaul of the entire European patent system is essential to avoid getting into a situation similar to that of the United States, in which millions of dollars are wasted because of an out of control patent system, and to ensure a democratic control over the patent system.”