Preventing Software Patents:
Why and How

10.00-13.00, Friday the 18th of November, 2005
European Parliament Office in Ireland
43 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2

On this page:

  1. Post-event report & records
  2. Aims of this seminar
  3. Programme

Post-event report & records

This event was a great success. IFSO would like to thank all of our members who contributed, and we would like to thank the office of MEP De Rossa for providing the venue. Members of the audience particularly liked the panel Q&A session which ended the event, a recording and transcript of which is among the materials below.

Online records

Glenn Strong: Introduction to Free Software and to IFSO

Those audio and video recordings also contain a short introduction from Ger Gibbons, assistant to MEP De Rossa.

Ciarán O'Riordan (IFSO/FSFE): Preventing Software Patents in the EU

Gareth Bowker: Ensuring EU legislation doesn't inhibit computer security

Panel Questions & Answers session

Cited documents

Aims of this seminar

The Software Patents Directive was the second largest lobbying effort that the European Union has seen. After two years of work on this directive, and now that the directive has been rejected, IFSO would like to look back on what was achieved and why it was so important to so many people.

Attendees will hear how the EU legislative process worked in practice, who was represented in the process, and who wasn't.

The seminar will also look at the road ahead for the software patents battle in the EU. While this attempt at introducing software patents has been decisively blocked, the exclusion of software ideas from patentability still has to be hardened. Until then, we will face attempts to get software patents in through the back door. Some such attempts are already under way.

Finally, the broader implications will be looked at, for related legislation which adds unnecessary risks and costs to the development and distribution of software. By making it impractical for smaller companies and individuals to participate in the development and distribution of software, such legislation stands to benefit the current market leaders at the cost of competition and freedom.


10:00 - Introduction from a parliament insider
MEP Proinsias De Rossa, on how the software patents directive seemed to the politicians.
10:15 - Introduction to Irish Free Software Organisation (IFSO)
Glenn Strong, Chairman of IFSO, on what IFSO does, what Free Software is.
10:30 - Preventing software patents in Europe
Ciaran O'Riordan, on his work for FSFE in the European Parliament as a lobbyist.
Ciaran O'Riordan is a committee member of IFSO and is working full time in Brussels as a political representative for Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). He has been involved in the campaign against software patents since early 2003 and is also involved in other directives related to legal issues which affect software freedom.
11:15 - break
Short break with coffee available.
11:40 - Ensuring EU legislation doesn't inhibit computer security
Gareth Bowker on how the computer security industry would be affected by software patents and other legislation such as the new proposal for criminalising patent, copyright, and trademark misuse.
Gareth Bowker is the Director of Diogel Limited, a Network Security company based in South Wales who provide secure Internet connections, secure networks, and Voice-over-IP systems for clients throughout Wales and Great Britain.
12:20 - Questions and Answers for the panel
The main speakers plus other committee members of IFSO will take questions on the topics covered.