Petition against the ratification of the Unitary Software Patent treaty by the UK and Scotland

  • Rumour is that the Government and the IP Minister Jo Johnson wants to ratify the UPC without a vote in Parliament(s) on the 7th of March 2017, with a fallback plan to have it signed by the end of March 2017, before Brexit article 50 is active.
  • To quote the recent meeting between Jo Johnson and EPO President Battistelli on wednesday 8th of March: "I was very pleased to hear the reconfirmation by the Minister that the UK government is committed to finalize the national ratification of the UPC treaty in order for the Court to be operational on 1 December 2017 and thus for the EPO to be able to deliver the first Unitary Patent at the same time."

We, the undersigned citizens, IT professionals, and IT companies of United Kingdom and Scotland, are strongly against the ratification of the Unitary Patent. We call on the Government and elected Members of Parliament of UK and Scotland to reject this international agreement for the following reasons:

1. We are worried about the thousands of software patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) against the spirit of the European Patent Convention (EPC article 52.2); The proposed Unitary Patent Court would provide a single point of failure (SPOF) to create case law in favour of patentability of software on a European scale;

2. The Unitary Patent contains paragraphs which refer to the Supremacy of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), while politicians have promised to respect the democratic Brexit vote of UK citizens to leave the European Union;

3. EPO's software patents are the worst nightmare of software developers; software companies can be threatened and sued at any time;

4. Many experts in the field have recognized that the Unitary Patent is the perfect vehicle for validating software patents in Europe (see quotes page). A heavily debated directive was rejected by the European Parliament in 2005 at the request of large multinational corporations (MNCs) which prefered a push for central patent court instead;

5. We are afraid of the multiplication of threats and lawsuits brought by some companies, and especially the ones that don't produce anything other than patents (so called "Non Practising Entities" or "Patent Trolls"); We are concerned that software patents shifts budgets allocated to R&D (Research & Development, run by software developers) to P&L (Patents & Litigation, run by lawyers);

6. Our companies don't have the financial means to defend themselves in court or to pay damages, and we believe the Unitary Patent would make it worse. The Unitary Patent has not been designed for small companies in mind. The cost of litigation and the amount of damages would be on the rise, as they would be calculated for the whole EU market;

7. The Unitary Patent Court would be more attractive to patent trolls that apply and litigate patents, as EU-wide injunctions and EU-wide damages would be available to extract large sums of money. Companies that don't have the financial means to defend themselves in court would be forced to settle;

8. We believe the UPC is an undemocratic instrument, whose 130 pages of rules of procedure have not been debated or drafted by parliaments, but by an administrative committee populated by members of the patent industry; this administrative committee would also have the power to change the treaty at will without consulting any parliament once the Unitary Patent is running; Parliaments also never had any power nor a procedure to amend those rules of procedure; citizens and companies don't have democratic means to influence this important piece of regulation;

9. We believe the UPC is not counterbalanced by an elected parliament, not even the European Parliament, making this court a quasi-legislator when it comes to patent law;

10. The UK has a legal tradition to reject the German and EPO's "technical effect" approach, which makes any software patentable when it runs on a computer; this restrictive approach to software patenting would be lifted by the large influence of German judges;

11. The UPC would make national clarifications to the European Patent Convention, as requested by previous petitioners, impossible;

12. The UPC would make bifurcation possible, which splits the validity and infringement cases (like in Germany), creating an imbalance where on one side, the patent owner says its patent is broad (infringement), and on the other side it is narrow (validity). Powerful injunctions to stop products on the market are granted, while the patent is later on found invalid;

13. The UPC is a power grab by the patent community, as judges are elected among this community. Patent law would be out of balance with other fields of law, and no supreme court would be able to intervene in patent law in order to correct their wayward doctrines and practices, as it happened for the last years in the United States with the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) and the Court of Appeal of the Federal Circuit (CAFC). Patent law would evolve in its own bubble;

14. We call on other EU member states to redraft the project in order to make it integrated within the structures of the European Union, and migrate the undemocratic European Patent Office (EPO) into an EU agency under the sole responsability of the European Parliament. The EPO is an international organization which abuses its diplomatic immunity, and is thus literally outside the law. We also denote the lack of separation of powers within the Council of European Ministers, which are part of the executive, and were heavily influenced by their National Patent Offices. The legislator should not be influenced by the executive, which is the currently the norm at EU level.


Sign as a citizen

First name:
Last name:
Address:

City:
State/province:
Zip/postal code:
Country:
Email:
You will receive a verification email to this address.
Comments:

Sign as a CEO of a company

Your name:
Company:
Website:
ex: www.mycompany.co.uk
Address:
Address (cont.)
City
Postcode:
Country
Phone:
Email:
You will be contacted privately via email
Public statement:
Try to mention why the UPC is not good for business

Companies signatures

Total number of companies: 24

  • Intelligent Firmware Ltd, Michael Krech, Hinckley, UK, "Please no software patents in Europe, else I will have to relocate my company!"
  • Elsec, William Hall, Gillingham, Gillingham, Dorset, UK, "Too many large companies patent obvious and/or well known algorithms and design features and then have more money to spend on lawyers to suppress competition."
  • Sirius Corporation Ltd, Mark Taylor, Bracknell, UK, "My 6y.o. daughter understands the difference between physical things, and ideas, matter and mind. Apparently paid-for lobbyists and lawyers want the rest of us to forget this distinction and apply a system, patents, designed for the world of things to the world of ideas, throttling innovation and pushing small and medium business out of markets to the benefit of the globalist elites. Imagine the Ancient Greek Dramatists had patented their plot ideas… You could kiss Western Literature goodbye - no Shakespeare, no Jane Austin, hell, not even JK Rowling. Like a bad horror movie, this one just keeps rising from the dead. Don’t let the globalists throttle entrepreneurs in their endless pursuit of rent."
  • Ruschinziketal Limited, Jens Rasch, Cromac Square, UK, "As director of a software development company I am strongly against software patents of any kind."
  • Adit Limited, Mike Griffiths, Shrewsbury, UK, "Software patents kill innovation. Hardware patents have proven useful over the years as a stimulus to industry and creativity - pushing new developments. Software patents have a blanket effect stifling creativity and technical advances - as any observer of the patent scene in the USA would note."
  • Tree of life Enterprises, Tim Dickson, Campebeltown, UK, "Software patents stifle innovation and effectively disproportionately tax smaller businesses. Also, a large portion (of s/w patents) cannot even demonstrate originality. Practically it is like preventing the use of mathematics to solve problems. This will stifle entrepreneurs and software development in the UK, just at a time when increased development is especially useful to the UK economy."
  • Magnetised Ltd, Garry Hill, Belfast, UK, "After years watching in disbelief the insanity of the American patent system where patent trolls make it impossible for hard-working, innovative new businesses to prosper, I find it incredible that any legislature could even consider this idea. Software patents make it impossible for small companies to compete as we cannot afford lawyers. Even the threat of a patent lawsuit would be enough to shut-down a new product or innovation from anything but the largest corporations. Software patents are anti-competitive. Software patents are immoral. Software patents are absurd. They have no place in the EU."
  • Saxonica Ltd, Michael Kay, Reading, UK, "Software patents are an anti-competitive weapon used by large software companies to fight off the threat from innovative start-ups. We must absolutely resist them if we want a thriving UK software industry with freedom of choice for consumers."
  • Gladserv, Brett Sheffield, Glasgow, UK, "Software patents stifle development in our industry, and only benefit large corporations that can afford to assemble large portfolios of patents. Unlike copyright, it is possible to violate a patent without even knowing, simply by implementing simple and obvious functionality in a program that happens to be covered by a patent. Remember when Amazon tried to claim a patent on single-click online shopping? It was granted in the US, but declined in Europe. The Unitary Patent system could mean patents like this coming into effect here."
  • Homechip Ltd, Nigel Titley, Milton Keynes, UK, "Software patents have been shown to stifle innovation in the development of software, particularly where a company is allowed to patent obvious and well-known algorithms. The industry thrives on cross fertilisation and attempts to limit it result in sterility and slow death."
  • Aleph One Ltd, Laurie van Someren, Cambridge, UK, "Patent Trolls are a nasty threat to small companies that do original work."

Citizen signatures

Total number of signatures: 109

Most recent signatures:

  • Tung Tse, London, , United Kingdom, 17 Mar 2017 19:11
  • Bill Adlam, Crawley, West Sussex, United Kingdom, 17 Mar 2017 01:32
    Comments: No country has benefitted from software patents. Big companies can defend claims by passing costs on to the consumer. Small businesses will be lost, costing jobs, competition and innovation. Much open source software in our economy and infrastructure is the work of volunteers, who would be at risk.
  • Haakon Ramsland Hol, NIttedal, , Norway, 15 Mar 2017 03:15
  • Jens Hennig, Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, 13 Mar 2017 20:02
  • Alex Brem, Grossbettlingen, , Germany, 13 Mar 2017 18:11
  • David Tomlinson, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, 13 Mar 2017 00:02
    Comments: I am opposed in principle to software patents, as is in violation of EPC art. 52 (See above).

    The UPC cannot proceed without UK involvement.
    We should withhold ratification.
  • Tom Tamplin, Wallington, Other, United Kingdom, 10 Mar 2017 11:40
  • Caroline Danon, Paris, , France, 10 Mar 2017 06:46
    Comments: patents are the worst plague in this world, making some filthy rich and blocking prosperity for the masses.
  • Maurizio Avogadro, Rome, , Italy, 09 Mar 2017 22:15
  • Laurent Leboucher, Cambridge, , United Kingdom, 09 Mar 2017 16:28
    Comments: A software patent is like a patent on Pythagoras' theorem.
  • Dale Thatcher, London, , United Kingdom, 09 Mar 2017 06:39
  • Rob Church, London, London, United Kingdom, 08 Mar 2017 22:43
  • John Picken, Aberdeen, , United Kingdom, 08 Mar 2017 10:22
    Comments: Undermines innovation, stifles development and competition, undemocratic in the extreme
  • Andrzej Zydroń, High Wycombe, Bucks, United Kingdom, 08 Mar 2017 10:10
  • Toby Simpson, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, 08 Mar 2017 07:11
  • PATRICK CULLITON, CRUMLIN, ANTRIM, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 23:36
  • Martin Tomes, Steyning, West Sussex, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 22:17
  • David Claughton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 21:48
  • Robert Newson, Old Windsor, Berkshore, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 21:24
  • John Connett, Cambridge, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 21:15
  • Donald Millican, Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 21:14
  • Thomas Newton, Cambridge, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 20:57
  • Paul Banks, Winchcombe, Google, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 19:24
  • R Blundell, Wimbledon, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 18:26
  • John Beardmore, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 18:26
  • G Herdman, London, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 18:02
  • Stephen Mollett, Camberley, Surrey, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 17:38
    Comments: With Brexit looming on the horizon, ratifying the UPC will hobble British software developers just at the moment they most need freedom to innovate in order to compete on the world stage.
  • Jerry Wilde, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 17:29
    Comments: Algorithms are alphanumeric constructs, iterative and are at the heart of all software. If the work is unique, and demonstrably so, copyright is where any exclusive ownership should lie. Software patents favour the big corporations at the expense of the SMEs they claim to protect.
  • Felix Dewaleyne, Reading, Reading, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 17:27
  • David Baxendale, Sutton Coldfield, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 16:42
    Comments: Please prevent large companies stifling enterprising small software developers.
  • Graham Purnell, Edinburgh, Midlothian, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 16:07
  • Robert Mortimer, Northwich, Cheshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 15:42
    Comments: The cost of reproducing software is so large compared to the copying of software that if you are charging that much for a product it is worth someone re-writing it you are charging too much. This may also kill free software ( and that one suspects is the aim of this sort of law)
  • AIDAN Dixon, Gateshead, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 14:55
    Comments: Software patents are a menace to development of software, specifically where small companies are concerned. They will stifle innovation by such small companies and allow large companies to control the former.
  • Alex Macfie, Kingston upon Thames, LONDON, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 13:52
  • Stanislav Saner, Bracknell, Berkshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 13:28
  • Derek Frost, Washington, Tyne & wear, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 13:11
  • Richard Cant, Newark, Notts, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 12:43
    Comments: WHy are we keeping the worst bit of Europe - whilst trying to leave the rest. I voted remain - but I would have voted leave the EPO if that had been on offer.
  • Jeff Cole, Salford, Lancashire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 12:42
  • Alpha Newby, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 12:41
  • Z Crow, Bristol, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 12:34
    Comments: China does not do 'IP', and while the 'West' derides China for copying, the 'West' cannot do without Chinese tech! We CAN NOT compete with the Chinese if we tie ourselves in tighter knots while they free themselves.
  • Ian Waring, Didcot, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 12:23
  • Tiago Moreira Vieira, Thatcham, Berkshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 12:19
  • Steven Walker, WEYBRIDGE, SURREY, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 12:16
  • Anthony Thomas, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 11:57
    Comments: If passed this will kill innovation
  • Timothy Dickson, campbeltown, Argyll, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 11:29
  • Nigel Livesey, Hope Valley, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 11:28
  • Ben Bacarisse, Linslade, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 11:18
  • Martin Guy, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 11:10
  • William Lawrence, Boston, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 11:05
  • Thomas Fotherby, St Albans, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 10:40
    Comments: Software Patents block innovation. Countries that do not have software patents will overtake everyone in the long run.
  • Simon Annetts, Rhayader, Powys, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 10:21
  • Brett Sheffield, Linlithgow, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 10:16
  • Adam Lyall, Ivybridge, Devon, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 10:16
  • Eric Chapman, Ashford, Kent, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 10:09
  • Adnan Hadzi, London, London, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 10:07
  • Daniel Morris, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 10:06
    Comments: "If at first you don't succeed" then maybe a centralised patent court was a really bad idea to begin with!
  • Graham Moult, Bath, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 09:56
  • David Matthews, York, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 09:48
  • Mark Stevens, Stroud, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 09:47
  • David Bowdrey, Grantham, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 09:40
  • John Winters, Wallingford, Oxon, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 09:26
    Comments: Software patents are an intrinsically bad idea - one only has to look at the history of the vast amount of abuse of them which there has been. They completely miss the real point of the patent system.
  • Phil Driscoll, LEEDS, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 09:26
  • Charles Goldie, Brighton, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 09:24
  • Jim Peden, Dumfries, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 09:15
    Comments: Since Darwin it has been known that diversity is essential for evolution. Software Patents kill diversity.
  • Alun Jones, Chester, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 09:11
  • Christopher Currie, London, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 09:11
    Comments: This treaty is a threat to democracy and to all small businesses developing and using software. Could the UK have developed WhatsApp if it had been in force?
  • Maurice Shakeshaft, Newark, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 09:09
    Comments: The control of Software patentability should not be handed over to large corporate enterprises to the detriment of innovative SME and independent developers.
  • Gervase Markham, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 08:59
    Comments: Software patents are a massive tax on innovation; anything which gives them more clout, no matter what its other virtues, must be a bad idea.
  • Colin Burn, Wrexham, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 08:54
    Comments: Grossly undemocratic.
  • Attila Ban, Camberley, Surrey, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 08:50
    Comments: As a private individual and as a small business owner I'm strongly opposing this notion
  • David Woodhouse, Great Bardfield, Essex, United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 08:49
  • Clive Page, Luton, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 08:49
  • Andy Jefferson, Derby, , United Kingdom, 07 Mar 2017 08:47
  • Luc Van Rompaey, Boom, Antwerpen, Belgium, 03 Mar 2017 08:11
  • Robin Oberg, Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, 02 Mar 2017 14:08
    Comments: This is obviously a threat against democracy that we have to be weary towards.
  • Lee Goddard, London, Private, United Kingdom, 02 Mar 2017 12:57
  • Karen Gentleman, Ryde, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom, 02 Mar 2017 12:50
  • raymond souter, lincoln, lincolnshire, United Kingdom, 02 Mar 2017 11:48
  • John Ferlazzo, Schenectady, NY, United States, 01 Mar 2017 20:48
  • Paul Blew, Taunton, Somerset, United Kingdom, 01 Mar 2017 17:33
  • David Cooper, ABERDEEN, Scotland, United Kingdom, 21 Feb 2017 18:44
    Comments: If you don't have mechanisms for preventing people patenting the obvious (or for throwing out ridiculous patents whenever the parasites behind them try to rip money out of actual innovators), your system is a failure. Either do the job properly or don't do it at all.
  • Angharad Owen, leominster, herefordshire, United Kingdom, 21 Feb 2017 12:35
  • Jonathan Carr, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, United Kingdom, 15 Feb 2017 20:10
  • Sandra Gurney, Flitwick, BEDFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom, 14 Feb 2017 23:21
  • John Webb, Windsor, Berkshire, United Kingdom, 14 Feb 2017 22:07
  • Maria Burrell, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, United Kingdom, 14 Feb 2017 20:51
  • Nikola Greening, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, United Kingdom, 14 Feb 2017 16:14
  • Mark Croucher, Swanage, Dorset, United Kingdom, 14 Feb 2017 15:58
  • Al Chartres, Worthing, West Sussex, United Kingdom, 14 Feb 2017 09:44
  • David Gair, Scunthorpe, N. Lincs, United Kingdom, 13 Feb 2017 21:54
    Comments: This is big company stifling of competition at its worst by trying to allow and enforce patents on obvious software ideas and algorithms. Also, trying to ratify this UPC without proper parliamentary vote or debate smacks of the government being in the back pockets of big businesses once again.
  • Fiona Kirkham, Bridgwater, Somerset, United Kingdom, 13 Feb 2017 19:48
  • Tony Wood, Farnborough, Hampshire, United Kingdom, 13 Feb 2017 16:44
    Comments: UPC is a despicable distortion of proper use of patent law. We need to prevent this grabbing.
  • Xavier Dieudonné, Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands, 13 Feb 2017 16:08
    Comments: Gain for the major corporation
    Pain for the retailing industry
  • John Gwilliam, St Helens, Lancs, United Kingdom, 13 Feb 2017 14:30
  • John Palmer, Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom, 13 Feb 2017 14:14
    Comments: The proper and sufficient way to protect software is by copyright, not patent. Allowing patents is bad for interoperability and tends to create monopolies.
  • Dennis North, Brighton, E. Sussex, United Kingdom, 13 Feb 2017 12:25
  • Jonathan Wright, Cardiff, , United Kingdom, 13 Feb 2017 12:24
    Comments: Patents are regularly shown to be an obstruction to, not an enabler for, innovation. Software Patents are not the right way to go.
  • John FITCH, Bath, , United Kingdom, 13 Feb 2017 12:16
    Comments: Software patents will kill software innovation.
  • Elias Turner, San Marcos, CA, United States, 13 Feb 2017 11:55
    Comments: Software should be free for all to use! Never patented.
  • Ian Walker, Forfar, Angus, United Kingdom, 13 Feb 2017 10:44