Irish SME associations quiet on patenting

Patents: yes, I keep rattling on about this — the vote is coming up on July 6th. I promise I’ll shut up after that ;)

UEAPME has issued a statement regarding the directive which is strongly critical of its current wording (UEAPME is the European small and medium-sized business trade association, comprising 11 million SMEs). Quote:

‘The failure to clearly remove software from the scope of the directive is a setback for small businesses throughout Europe. UEAPME is now calling on the European Parliament to reverse yesterday’s decision at plenary session next month and send a strong message that an EU software patent is not an option,’ Hans-Werner Müller, UEAPME Secretary General, stated.

‘There is growing agreement among all actors that software should not be patented, so providing an unequivocal definition in the directive that guarantees this is clearly in the general interest. We are calling on the Parliament to support the amendments that would ensure this,’ said Mr Müller.

‘The cacophony of misinformation and misleading spin from the large industry lobby in the run up to this vote has obscured the general consensus on preventing the patenting of pure software.’

That’s all well and good. So presumably the Irish members of UEAPME, ISME and the SFA, are agreeing, right? Sadly, neither of these have issued any press releases on the subject, as far as I can see, and approaches by members of IFSO have been totally fruitless.

Since both have made recent press noting that Irish small businesses face difficulties with the rising costs of doing business, this would seem to be a no-brainer — legalising software patents would immediately open Irish SMEs up to the costs associated with them: licensing fees, fighting spurious infringement litigation from ‘patent troll’ companies, the ‘chilling effects’ on investors noted by Laura Creighton, and of course the high price of retaining patent lawyers to file patents on your own innovations. One wonders why they aren’t concerned about these costs…

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