Brussels (4th April 2006) - Following a formal complaint by the FFII to the EU Commission's President Barroso, and meetings between the FFII and the Commission, the Commission has agreed to extend its deadline from 31 March 2006 to 12 April 2006.
In a meeting with the Commission on 17th March, the FFII requested an extension. "The original deadline was impossible to meet", said Pieter Hintjens, President of the FFII. "We spoke to many firms that were still preparing their response at the stroke of midnight on 31 March. The Commission has not answered all of our complaints, but this extension is welcome and helpful."
The Commission has published the extension on their website, saying that "this deadline determines which replies will be taken into account for the hearing on 13 June 2006." Later replies may still be considered.
The FFII and other organisations, including large software producers such as SAP, view the consultation procedure (which covers the Community Patent EU project and the European Patent Litigation Agreement EPO project) as the third attempt to introduce software patents into Europe.
Hintjens: "We told the Commission clearly: the Community Patent and EPLA do raise the spectre of software patents, and this must be discussed, not slipped under the table. Furthermore, the EPO is a large part of the problem and we want to see reform of this institution. Software patents introduce dangerous and anti-innovation monopolies, are bad for business, and are demonstrably irrelevant to a sector that has innovated for five decades without them."
The FFII is calling on businesses and organisations to endorse its own response to the Commission, which will be handed in the day before the new deadline. Peter Gerwinski of the FFII: "Print out the page, sign it, and fax it back to us. We will collect the signatures into one document that we will hand over personally to the Commission. We previously did this for the Call for Action III during the second reading of the software patents directive and it made a great impact."
The form to participate in this action is available at http://patinfo.ffii.org/faxcollect.en.html
About the FFII: the Foundation for Free Information Infrastructure is a Munich-based association that fights for competition in the IT sector, based on copyright, open standards, and open markets. The FFII has fought software patents for six years, led by its founder Hartmut Pilch, on the grounds that these create private monopolies that work against innovation. The FFII is funded by donations and membership fees and counts activists and members in over 20 countries.