FFII recommends EU to remove barriers for startups

Berlin, March 31st 2011 — The FFII answered a consultation call from the European Commission General Directorate Internal Market on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. For the EU to help startup companies, the FFII advises to reduce market entrance risks for innovative companies. Most SME and startup companies that support FFII operate in digital markets. In digital markets innovators are often confronted with patent minefields. “You have to draw a clear distinction between counterfeiting and business conflicts over the scope of intellectual property rights. Continue Reading →

Tagesschau.de awarded for the use of Open Standards

Berlin, 30. March 2011 – Today the ARD internet platform Tagesschau.de will receive an award for the use of Open Standards at the “Document Freedom Day”. The prize is awarded by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure e.V. (FFII) for offering the broadcasted shows also in the free video format “Ogg Theora”. In Berlin FSFE and FFII will hand over a certificate and a cake with the “rOgg On!” label on to Sven Bruns, technical manager at tagesschau.de. Continue Reading →

Startup companies and the IP playing field

FFII response to the Consultation on the Commission Report on the enforcement of intellectual property rights

(Also available as pdf)

March 2011

Summary

We would like to thank the European Commission for this opportunity to provide feedback on the Report. To stimulate startup companies, the EU legal situation should minimize market entrance risks for innovators. Startup companies are often confronted with patent minefields. Even a mere allegation of infringement may easily lead to market exclusion. Startup companies often do not have enough resources to litigate. Continue Reading →

Patent wars on – Microsoft sues Android retailers

Berlin, March 25th 2011 — This week Microsoft sued the retailers Barnes&Noble, Foxconn and Inventec for distributing devices using the Android platform. The Android is a Linux derivate from Google. It is the most recent lawsuit in a battle of dominance on the tablet and smartphone market. “What a desperate sales argument to sue retailers which use a competing platform. It’s ‘Take our platform or get sued’. Continue Reading →

European Parliament wants to make software producers liable for defects

Brussels, March 21st 2011 — The European Parliament wants to make software producers liable for defects. Ahead of the vote on the Consumer Rights Directive on Thursday 24 March, a political agreement amongst the groups in the European Parliament would put software and webservices providers liable for damages under the goal of providing consumer protection. “During the software patent debate we underlined that Data processing is no field of technology”, explains FFII president Benjamin Henrion. “The physical world is different from the digital environment”. He continues: “Similar to the software patent directive, it is another piece of legislation that makes software development a much more risky business”. Continue Reading →

EU ACTA negotiators’ notes still secret

Pedro Velasco Martins, EU ACTA negotiator, today answered FFII’s 30 December 2010 questions on the initialling of ACTA. ACTA was initialed on 25 November 2010, through an electronic procedure. The Commission chief-negotiator initialled all the pages of the text, including the criminal measures. The Commission added negotiators’ notes in the course of the negotiations. The EU has not decided yet whether it will publish its negotiators’ notes. Continue Reading →

FFII supports asking an ECJ opinion on ACTA

Brussels, 11 March 2011 — The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) supports asking the European Court of Justice an opinion on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). On Monday 21 March 2011 the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee may vote on a proposal for such a request. Unbalanced enforcement measures may heighten market entrance risks for innovators, according to the FFII. Startup companies are often confronted with patent minefields. Even a mere allegation of infringement may easily lead to market exclusion. Continue Reading →

FFII supports an ECJ opinion on ACTA

On Monday 21 March 2011, the Legal Affairs Committee may vote on a proposal to ask the European Court of Justice (ECJ) an opinion on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The FFII strongly supports asking the ECJ an opinion. Unbalanced enforcement measures may heighten market entrance risks for innovators. Startup companies are often confronted with patent minefields. Even a mere allegation of infringement may easily lead to market exclusion. Continue Reading →

Dutch trade minister: ACTA not superior to European or national law

Will ACTA be binding on the US, EU, France, Romania, the Netherlands and Singapore? Confusion over whether the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is binding is mounting. On 1 December 2010, Dutch Trade Minister Verhagen said in a parliamentary commission meeting: “It has never come up to implement ACTA in the Netherlands. It so happens that ACTA is not superior to European or national law.” This is a remarkable statement. Continue Reading →

Whitehouse annual IP report: ACTA as “first-of-its-kind agreement”

A Whitehouse Intellectual Property annual report Feb 2011 unsurprisingly mentions ACTA
In the Strategy, we committed to promote enforcement of U.S. intellectual property rights through trade policy. On November 15, USTR concluded negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the text of the agreement was finalized on December 3. ACTA is a first-of-its-kind agreement and, once it enters into force, ACTA will aid rightholders and the U.S. Government to combat infringement. While the European Commission trade negotiators consider ACTA as forum shopping of TRIPS+ the letter from United States coordinator Victoria A. Espinel speaks of ACTA as a first-of-its-kind agreement. Indeed the use of trade agreements for trading IPR enforcement laws on other nations is new. Continue Reading →

EU study advocates a European Criminal Court

Brussels, 7 February 2011 — A study commissioned by the European Commission advocates the abolition of the national prosecutor’s discretion whether to prosecute and how to charge the defendant. It also argues in favor of a European criminal court and for the criminalisation of patent infringements. The main question the EU study had to answer is whether EU criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights are essential. The EU is only competent to adopt criminal measures if the criminal measures have been proven “essential”. The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) observes that the study fails to prove EU criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights are needed. Continue Reading →