Belgium challenges software patents

atomium-BelgiumBelgium, normally a highway for Germans wanting to get into France, is sticking a spanner in one of the attempts to bring in software patents into the EU.

The European Software Market Association (ESOMA) and others have asked Belgium’s Constitutional Court to block the Unitary Patent which was an attempt to legalise software patents in Europe.

ESOMA believes that the Unitary Patent denies Belgians equality before the law, discriminates on basis of language, violates the separation of powers, and is an illegal political manoeuvre by the European Patent Office.

One of the plaintiffs, Benjamin Henrion, is a fifteen-year campaigner against software patents in Europe. He says: “The Unitary Patent is the third major attempt to The EPO-controlled European Patent Court will become the Eastern District of Texas when it comes to software patent disputes in Europe. As happened in America, the concentration of power will force up legal costs, punish small European innovators, and benefit large patent holders.”

Another plaintiff, ESOMA founder and chairman Pieter Hintjens, added that, “in 2007 we showed how this plan would raise costs by at least four times.

“The EPO plans to put a loaded gun to the head of every software business in Europe, squeeze the trigger, and ask politely for money.”Protecting innovation” is a euphemism for a climate of fear, a system of mass extortion called ‘mandatory licensing’ for the EPO and their friends,” he said.”

The law will encourage a regime where firms licensing “inventions” is much more lucrative than making real products.

Hintjens said:”The sociopathic patent system has attacked US businesses for decades. At least the US Supreme Court can fix the worse offenses. In Europe we will be left defenceless. The Unitary Patent Court is free from all oversight. It is a looming nightmare.”

Attacking the law in Belgium is because the Dutch-speaking population of Belgium was long denied the right to legal defence in their own language and Articles 10 and 11 of the Belgian Constitution ban such discrimination.

The EPO-controlled court will operate in English, French, and German. While the EPO axis threatens freedom of business across Europe, Belgium is our home, and a good place to make a stand.