Brussels, 5 July 2005. The Confederation of European Associations of Small and Medium Enterprises CEA-PME, representing more than 500,000 corporate members throughout Europe, has sent a multilingual letter by fax to all members of the European Parliament, which warns that the future of an important SME-driven sector of Europe's economy is at stake and calls on MEPs to support the 21 Buzek-Rocard-Duff cross-party compromise amendments, or, if these do not achieve the needed majority of 367 votes, reject the directive. CEA-PME moreover recommends the expertise of one of its member associations, the FFII, which due to the great public interest in the debate has doubled its number of corporate supporters from 1500 to over 3000 within the last 3 months.
The Letter -- English version
ATTN: XXX MEP
Dear Mr./Mrs. XXX,
As an association of associations we represent more than 500,000 European Small and Medium Enterprises and have intensely followed the software patent dossier for a long time, because the future of an important sector in which most employment and tax revenues are created by SMEs is at stake.
With great concern we have witnessed the defeat of the socialist rapporteur Michel Rocard in the Legal Affairs Committee, caused by activism of a group of lawyers from EPP and ALDE who are known to be strongly attached to the patent world. Meanwhile however 50 members of EPP, led by Prof. Jerzy Buzek (PL) and Zuanna Roithová (CZ), and 40 Liberals, led by Andrew Duff (UK) and the European Liberal Youth (LYMEC), have agreed with Rocard on a set of 21 cross-party compromise amendments. We urge you to attend the vote on Wednesday and to fully support these amendments.
Only full support for the 21 cross-party compromise amendments can enable the European Parliament to arrive at a coherent basis for dialog with the Council. If not even these 21 cross-party amendments reach the required majority of 367 votes, we urge you to reject the directive as a whole.
Please read the 21 cross-party compromise amendments and justifications carefully so as to find out why the Council's "Common Position" is not what it may appear to be at first sight.
If you need any further expertise on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
 LYMEC calls on ALDE to support the 21 cross-partisan amendments
 Please consult also the pages of our member organisation FFII, such as
Background information and further news
The original versions (PDF) will be published soon at http://swpat.ffii.org/log/05/ceapme0704/
- Number of Corporate supporters of FFII has doubled from 1500 to 3000 since April 26 when the Economic Majority initiative was started.
Last wednesday's Economic Majority conference, organised by CEA-PME together with Zuzanna Roithová and other EPP members brought 100 SMEs and journalists of leading newspapers and tv stations to Brussels. It also boosted the movement for cross-party amendments within the EPP, which achieved its targets shortly before the submission deadline on wednesday evening.
- FFII is planning the next conference in Brussels for September 20-21. It will focus on quality assurance for EU legislation and assemble scholars and judges to discuss the software patent experience as an example case.
All party groups of the German Parliament have reaffirmed their stance against software patents, which is broadly equivalent to the line taken by the 21 cross-partisan amendments in the EP.
- Companies like Sennheiser, who have been involved in multi-million euro lobbying for software patents, don't have anything to fear from the 21 compromise amendments, even though FFII has found that some the patent claims on which their campaigns are based, are hilarious.
Hartmut Pilch and Holger Blasum
info at ffii org
erjos at ffii org
jmaebe at ffii org
rufus.pollock at ffii.org.uk
Vice President FFII
gibus at ffii.fr