The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII-UK) has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the dangers posed by software patents, particularly to smaller businesses. The campaign, Protect Innovation will target the government and businesses. As a first step, the organisers are inviting companies to send them their testimony and comments on the subject. This information will be included in a submission the FFII-UK is making to the DTI later in the year.
Rufus Pollock, spokesperson for FFII-UK argues that although the official position on patents is that they exist to encourage and protect innovation, the reality is quite the opposite, and in fact threaten SMEs: “This is not an abstract issue or one solely relevant to the software sector. With the large and growing role that software plays in the UK, protecting innovation in this area from the threat of patents is essential to a strong, growing and resilient economy,” he said.
European legislation on software patents is currently in limbo. The so-called directive on computer implemented inventions narrowly passed its first reading at the end of the last session of Parliament. If it passes its second reading, opponents fear that European companies will be forced into a patenting arms-race, much as has occurred in the US. This, they say, will draw money from R&D budgets and bolster legal departments in large corporations, while smaller players could be drummed out of the market altogether.
If you want to join the campaign, or just send them an email, point your browser here.®