NoSoftwarePatents.com Launches Campaign against Software Patents in the EU

1&1, Red Hat and MySQL AB are corporate partners - Web site starts in 12 languages - Campaign warns that software patents are used for anti-competitive purposes

Munich, Germany (20 October 2004). A new campaign against software patents in the EU was launched today in 12 languages at www.NoSoftwarePatents.com. The campaign is managed by Florian Müller of SWM Software-Marketing GmbH, a software industry veteran with almost 20 years of expertise, and is supported by three corporate partners: 1&1, Red Hat, and MySQL AB. The campaign manager will discuss the issue of software patents with politicians and the media.

"Software patents are used for anti-competitive purposes, stifle innovation, and would cost the entire economy and society dearly", Florian Müller said. "On the bottom line, they create more injustice than justice. There is only a small group of people in the patent system who would benefit from them, and some large American corporations have ulterior motives. "

" We call on everyone - especially Web site operators - to support this campaign. We are now in the decisive stage of the legislative process."

Software is already protected by copyright law. The European Patent Convention does not allow patents on software, but tens of thousands of software patents have been granted in Europe. The European Union (www.europa.eu.int) is currently in a legislative process on a software patent directive. In September of last year, the European Parliament (www.europarl.eu.int) proposed a directive that would do away with software patents. In May of this year, the EU Council (www.consilium.eu.int) announced a political agreement on a directive that would establish a software patent regime similar to that of the United States. Under that legislation, the only major difference between the U.S. and Europe would be how a patent application is presented, not what is patentable. The EU Council was widely expected to formally adopt that legislative proposal last month and to refer the matter back to the European Parliament, but the Council postponed the decision and could still alter course. Software patents are on the agenda of the German parliament ("Bundestag") for tomorrow.

Müller pointed out that reputable organizations such as Deutsche Bank Research (www.dbresearch.com), PriceWaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) and the Kiel Institute for World Economics (www.uni-kiel.de/ifw) have already warned of the negative implications of software patents to Europe.

The campaign Web site will provide content in all official EU languages. The content is initially available in (alphabetically) Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish. More translations are in progress.

About the Campaign Partners

The views expressed by the campaign are those of the campaign manager and not necessarily those of the campaign partners.

1&1 (www.1and1.org) is part of the United Internet group (www.unitedinternet.com), a publicly traded German company that projects revenues of EUR 506 million and pre-tax profits above EUR 80 million this year. United Internet's wholly owned subsidiaries 1&1 and Schlund+Partner (www.schlund.de) position the group as one of Europe's largest Internet presence providers with over 3 million customers and 4.5 million Internet domains. The group also operates the GMX (www.gmx.com) E-mail service with 19 million user accounts.

Red Hat (NASDAQ:RHAT, www.redhat.com) is the world's premier Linux and open source provider, and the most recognized Linux brand in the world. With 27 offices worldwide, the company expects revenues in its current fiscal year around US$ 200 million. For the most recent fiscal quarter, Red Hat reported net income of US$ 11.8 million on revenue of US$ 46.3 million.

MySQL AB (www.mysql.com) of Sweden is Europe's largest open source software company. The company's flagship product is MySQL, the world's most popular open source database, with more than 5 million active installations. MySQL AB is privately-held, with approximately EUR 17 million of venture capital invested in the company.

Contact Information

Florian Müller

SWM Software-Marketing GmbH

Starnberg, Germany

phone +49 (8151) 651850