[Discussioni] [Fwd: [Patents] Software patents: German Bundestag supports European Parliament]

Stefano Maffulli stef a zoomata.com
Ven 18 Feb 2005 16:56:27 CET

E 4.  Peccato solo che il ministro tedesco sia stato anche il principale
responsabile della caporetto del 18 Maggio... stiamo recuperando
terreno, direi che abbiamo pareggiato ora :)


-----Forwarded Message-----
From: Florian Mueller <florian.mueller a nosoftwarepatents.com>
To: patents a aful.org
Subject: [Patents] Software patents: German Bundestag supports European Parliament
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 12:29:03 +0100



Unanimous resolution passed by German parliament against EU Council's
current proposal for a software patent directive -- European software patent
critics celebrate "winning streak" after scoring four parliamentary
victories in 16 days -- Concerns over "Microsoft's best friend in the
Commission" who will decide on EP's restart request

Brussels (18 February 2005).  Shortly before midnight, the German Bundestag
became the fourth parliament this month to speak out against the EU
Council's proposal for a software patent directive.  The German parliament
unanimously voted on a resolution.  Earlier that day, the leaders of all
groups in the European Parliament unanimously decided to request the
European Commission to submit a new proposal for the directive.  In the
first half of the month, the Spanish Senado and the Dutch Tweede Kamer had
passed similar resolutions on this controversial issue.

Florian Mueller, the manager of the pan-European NoSoftwarePatents.com
campaign, published an English translation of the consensus position of the
German parliament on its Web site at this address:

He described recent political developments as "a fantastic winning streak
for all those who believe in the benefits of a competitive software market".
At a press conference held by NoSoftwarePatents.com and activist group FFII
in Brussels between yesterday's parliamentary decisions, Polish conservative
MEP and former prime minister Jerzy Buzek, French Green MEP Alain Lipietz
and Dutch Socialist MP Arda Gerkens represented different parts of the
political spectrum with a common position on software patents.

NoSoftwarePatents.com's Mueller believes that the political pressure from
the various parliamentary decisions is "a key success factor" but expressed
his concern that EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy "may be more interested in
what is good for Microsoft than for Europe as a whole".  His worries stem
from the fact that Microsoft is Ireland's largest tax-payer since the
company supplies the entire EU out of its facility in Dublin where it has a
"tax haven".  After the press conference, Mueller explained that "with its
tax-haven program for the European subsidiary of U.S. corporations,
once-poor Ireland has within less than two decades become Europe's
wealthiest country by various statistics."

NoSoftwarePatents.com has for some time had a text on its Web site that
discusses the position of various EU member countries on software patents,
and makes reference to Ireland's role:

Mueller furthermore explained: "The Irish suck tax revenues out of the rest
of Europe because a subsidiary of Microsoft and similar companies in any
other EU country pays practically no taxes -- those local offices are
formally just marketing agencies that get their costs reimbursed by the
Irish operation, but the actual revenues and profits are generated in
Ireland where Microsoft only has a tax rate of about 10%.  The U.S.
government allows them to take that low-tax profit home without paying
anything on top, which is a subsidy for their software industry and for
Ireland, which has historical ties with U.S. politics, at the same time."

The EU's Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy was formerly the
Irish minister of finance and, as Mueller puts it, "in that function he got
a nice check from Microsoft every month, so he's their best friend in the
Commission".  The Irish government held the presidency of the European Union
-- and consequently also of the EU Council -- in the first half of 2004, and
orchestrated the political agreement on a software patent directive that has
been the object of heavy attacks and criticism ever since.

As an EU Commissioner, McCreevy now has to decide on the request of the
European Parliament for invalidating that political agreement by restarting
the entire legislative process on the directive.  When the new Commission
was put together last year with one Commissioner from each of the 25 member
states, the Irish government particularly insisted on their appointee being
assigned to the DG (Directorate General) Internal Market, which is the DG
that started and continues to manage the process on the software patent
directive.  Given the sensitive nature of this directive and a potential
conflict between the EU institutions, it is conceivable that the president
and the vice presidents of the Commission will also be involved in the
decision on the EP's restart request.

Microsoft's push for EU software patents drew major attention a few days ago
after a leading Danish financial newspaper quoted Microsoft Denmark's chief
lobbyist who said that Bill Gates had threatened the Danish government with
killing 800 jobs unless the EU were to legalize software patents.  The
Danish social democrats responded with a press release that "blackmail shall
not dictate Danish policy".  Microsoft subsequently denied that Gates made
the respective statement but did admit that intellectual property rights and
their connection with the location of jobs were discussed in the respective

About the NoSoftwarePatents.com Campaign

The NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign was launched on October 20th and is
supported by three IT companies (1&1, Red Hat, and MySQL AB).  The views
expressed by the campaign are those of the campaign manager and not
necessarily those of the aforementioned companies.

Through Web content in 17 languages, the campaign addresses a pan-European
audience.  More information on the campaign is available on its Website.

Contact Information

For further information concerning this announcement or the
NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign, please contact:

Florian Mueller
Campaign Manager, NoSoftwarePatents.com
telephone +49 (8151) 651850
press a nosoftwarepatents.com

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