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fear the crushing of SME of the software by the multinationals



En artikel i Le Monde Informatique. Originalet på franska.

http://www.weblmi.com/articles_store/973_11/Article_view

Jag har babelfiskat den:

SME of the edition post their mistrust

The protection of the software by patents, subject under discussion in
the European Parliament, attracts itself the opposition of many the
French editors. Who fear the crushing of SME of the software by the
multinationals.

Perplexity, concern and, sometimes, anger. Whereas a European draft
Directive endorsing the patents on software is discussed by the
commissions of the European Parliament, the French editors largely
remain being wary vis-a-vis this announced reform. "One cannot apply
this mechanism of protection to the software, which does not have all
the characteristics of the industrial products. We fear the perverse
effects ", pleads Jean-Marc Bily, person in charge for the pole Linux de
Prologue, French editor employing more than 500 people. Before adding
that, in this bearing debate on the extension of the patentability to
the software, "the small editors feel excluded from the mechanisms of
decision". Doubts that division Philippe Strosser, director associated
with Coheris, editor specialized in the GRC, which says not to manage
"to know if its company has an economic interest on arrival of the
patents of software. Actually, we have more fears than of hopes ".
Patrick Bertrand, general manager of Cegid, editor of PGI cash some 1
300 employees, shares same concerns: "Certainly, the need for protection
exists: to imitate what the competitor does is not prohibited today. But
the patentability appears me to cause danger. The setting in?uvre of
this system poses a true problem." Others post an opposition solved to
the European project. Ambassador of this face of the refusal, Pierre
Haren, chairman and founder of Ilog, editor of almost 600 people, bases
himself on the experiment of his subsidiary company to the United
States, countries where the patents of software are officially
recognized and largely employed, to support its position.

Some of the opponents to the project see there even a direct
threat for their survival in the short or the long term. Thus
Pierre-Michel Alcayna, of West coast, a Nantes editor of software of
management, for which "the patentability represents the advisability for
great groups of monopolizing software creation." A position that relay
Domenica Gregoire, manager, and Domenica Laurent, director of the
development, the Toulouse editor Synapse Development: "will the
patentability kill a little more the small editors, who will disappear
at accelerated intervals?"and largely employed, to support its position.

Very often, the French editors remain also largely under-informed on the
question: the patent does not seem to belong to their culture. For
example, Rene Senlis, chairman of EBP, specialized in the management
tools for SME-SME, recognizes being badly well informed on the costs and
the procedures necessary to the patent filling. With him only, this lack
of culture as regards patent rights constitutes already a significant
obstacle for the French industry of the software, as Syntec Informatique
raises it. According to the official position of the trade-union room of
the editors and software firms, "the near total of the members of Syntec
Informatique lived until 1999 with the absolute conviction that the
software was not patentable in France, concerned with the only royalty.
We react badly in front of the fact that 13 000 software patents [ at
the time, this figure is climbed to 30 000 today, note ] were however
delivered by the OEB (the European Patent Office)". A deficit of
information which perdure. Eric Schahl, associated at Inlex, a cabinet
of patent attorney, note that "the prospect for the vote of the draft
Directive did not involve a renewal of consultations on behalf of the
software publishers. Small and medium-sized undertakings generally think
that, even if this system existed, they would not use it."

To align itself on other industries?

On the whole, among the score of contacted French editors, only two are
declared favorable to the patents of software. To start with Business
Objects (BO), and its 2 000 employees, including three specialized in
the patent rights. "BO is very attached to the protection of its patent
rights, explains Yannick Cras, software architect as a head. However, it
takes eighteen months for a competitor to align itself on a concept
innovating thanks to opposite engineering (reverse engineering). We thus
think that the software must profit from the protection of the patents."
One2team, editor specialized in the collaboratives solutions, is placed
about on the same line. "If an innovation saves 50 % in times of
development, why wouldn't there be right to protect it by means of a
patent?" question its chairman, Herve Laumonier.

These rare positions pro-patents could not mask reality: the opposition
to the patentability of the software is not the business of the only
defenders of the Open Source, attached to the values which their models
of licence convey. A many European editors of modest size remain hostile
with a directive, which, according to them, could cause them economic
damage. "the setting in?uvre of the patents should better take into
account SME These protections remain expensive and research of
anteriority [ to know if the innovation to be protected is not already
covered by a patent, note ] is difficult", recognizes Olivier Ezratty,
director of Net division and developers at Microsoft France, editor who
however defends the principle of the patents on the software.




 
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