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Ile de Science


Debate on Software Patents Organized by the INRIA

Hugues Rougier presents the point of view of Open CASCADE to an audience of leading French companies and research institutes.

On Thursday, January 17, around 100 members of "Ile de Science", a club which brings together research organisms from the southern Parisian region, gathered at INRIA Rocquencourt to hear arguments for and against the patenting of software programs. Companies like Air Liquide, CEA and Thales represented the industrial sector, while leading laboratories from institutes such as the University of Paris XI and Polytechnique represented research interests.

Currently, the European Patent Office awards patents only to software which produces a concrete technical effect, such as software used for piloting an aircraft. Intellectual property laws protect all other software programs.

After a general introduction to the theme of the debate, two presentations centered on the extension of software patents to cover all software programs, most notably as a way of counter-attacking systematic software patenting in the United States.

In the afternoon, Hugues Rougier, Chairman and CEO of EADS Matra Datavision, and Philippe Aigrain of the European Commission gave the arguments for maintaining a limit on patents. For Hugues Rougier, software patents would discourage the free interchange necessary for optimal software development, would involve a financial burden in terms of insurance and guarantees, particularly for software integrators, and would represent a menace for the free software industry. However, a limitation on software patents would create an environment that encourages innovation and would give Europe a second chance in the battle for the software economy.

For more information on "Ile de Science", consult the Web site (in French) at:

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