Subject: German Software Businesses Opinions on Software Patents
From: Laurent GUERBY <>
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005 20:34:19 +0200

Just FYI, for those interested in opinions on software patent
by software businesses (FS or not), please see below.

Official Results of German governmental survey show industry consensus
against software patents

With a delay of 7 months the results of a government-ordered survey on
software patents and a interoperability study have been
published. Previously the Ministry of Economics had suppressed
publication of the study after protests from Bitkom, the German branch
of EICTA, and from the Ministry of Justice, which resented the
interference in its turf. A partial evaluation showed last month that
the study revealed nearly unanimous animosity against software patents
among German companies in the ICT sector, based on fairly detailed
knowledge of the problems. The full publication of the results from
all 1200 participants confirmed this picture. A study about
Interoperability/Patent protection and Competition recommends
improvements with regard to Article 6a.  Key facts in English

* There were 1214 answers to the study (585 1-4 employees, 159 5-9
e., 122 10-19 e., 92 20-49 e., 67 50-199 e., 34 200-499 e., 51 >=500
e., 104 no data, at least representing 40,194 employees)

* A large majority of the responding companies fears impairing effects

* 1011 companies (83%) indicate they lack the means and expertise to
discover whether or not their products infringe on patents

* 902 companies (74%) insist on an interoperability exemption

* 915 companies (75%) fear that due to software patents they won't be
able to effectively compete in the market anymore, only 23 companies
(2%) anticipate the contrary option, to be able be "better dominate
certain markets", among companies > 500 employees the ratio is 29:6,
200-500 employees the ratio is 19:1.

* On a scale of -3 to 3 "How will software patents influence the
innovation ability of your company" scored -1.5 (negative influence,
94% of interviewees responding), and "Do software patents have
supporting or inhibiting effects on your programming activities now or
in the future?" scored -2.58 (inhibiting, 97.12% of respondents). "How
do software patents affect the calculation of product prices?" ranked
2.45 (higher prices, 96.62% responding). "How much use for you has the
know-how gain by the publication of the software patents by third
parties?" scored -2.41 (no practical use, 89.30% responding).
News (German)
[links to German sites]