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The campaign nosoftwarepatents-award 2006 has been started by 1&1 Internet and GMX. The companies MySQL, Red Hat and CAS Software are, until now, partners of the campaign. In September 2006 Jedox joined the campaign. By conferring the nosoftwarepatents-award 2006, these companies aim to raise public awareness of the fact that European patent offices have granted thousands of software patents since the eighties and that a change of this practice is not in sight: Patent offices keep patenting software. This increases the risk of economic damages and slows down software innovations in Europe.

The campaign provides specific examples that are intended to make tangible the danger of a potential legitimisation of software patents, which still cannot be ruled out. This threat mainly affects small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In comparison to large businesses, they are very rarely in a position to bear the costs of patent investigations, licenses and claims against patent violations which would accompany the legalisation of software patents.

Already the initiative nosoftwarepatents.com for which Florian Müller became involved as a campaign manager contributed substantially to the decision of the European Parliamant to reject the EU-directive on software patents in July 2005. This was a victory achieved over several years by the opponents of software patents against a lobby of patent advocates which had appeared to be invincible. Since then is has become clear that the advocates of software patents will not accept their defeat. They have started the next round in the European fight about software patents.

If you too would like to support the conferral of the nosoftwarepatents-award.com, please contact us.

Up to now the campaign partners are:

The Jedox GmbH – founded in 2002 – is engaged internationally in the growing market for business-inteligence-software and joined our campaign at the beginning of September 2006. The company is a leading provider of Excel-to-Web-solutions for companies. With the worksheet-server it is possible to convert Excel-applications automatically into server-based web-browser applications. The open-source-solution Palo extends the data model of Excel and is available free at www.palo.net. Jedox is managed by Excel-specialist Kristian Raue. When he was CEO of IntelliCube Software AG – sold to MIS AG in the year 2000 – he gained experience with a patent application in the USA. The patent referred to so-called hyperblocks, which play an important part in the preparation of multi-dimensional reports with spreadsheet programs. Concerning Jedox the application of a patent for the worksheet-server in the USA was considered initially. "However, we did not pursue this patent. In the course of the patent application we became convinced that software patents bear more threats than benefits", he comments his present involvement against software patents.

MySQL develops and supports a family of high performance, affordable database products - including MySQL Network, a comprehensive set of certified software and premium support services. The company's flagship product is MySQL, the world's most popular open source database, with more than 8 million active installations. Companies and organisations are using MySQL to power high-volume Web sites, business-critical enterprise applications and packaged software. MySQL AB supports both open source values and corporate customers' needs in a profitable, sustainable business. The company is world-wide represented and has become involved in activities against software patents since 1999. MySQL supported the platform nosoftwarepatents.com and called for action against software patents in alliance with 1&1 .

Red Hat is the world's leading open source and Linux provider. The company, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, with satellite offices worldwide, provides operating system platforms along with middleware, applications, and management solutions, as well as support, training, and consulting services to customers worldwide. Red Hat's position on software patents is that such patents impede innovation in software development. Throughout the past years Red Hat has worked to promote this position in the European Union encouraging the EU not to adopt a policy of permitting software patents. Together with 1&1 and MySQL the company has supported nosoftwarepatents.com. Mark H. Webbink, Senior Vice President and Deputy Counsel is responsible for elaborating Red Hat's position on software patents. One of his articles on this topic summarises insights about the lack of utility of software patents.

CAS Software is a specialist for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for medium-sized companies and offers a transsectoral CRM solution for the setup and maintenance of durable customer relations. Daily, more than 100.000 users work with the products of CAS Software. Thus, the company from Karlsruhe, Germany, belongs to the leading providers in the area of customer relationship management and information management for SMEs.

GMX is the German specialist for convenient and quick communication and information via internet. Considering 9,3 millions of unique users each month, GMX belongs to the most important German internet services and, according to the current brand survey of Young and Rubicam, to the 10 most popular brands in Germany. In alliance with 1&1 the company has become involved with activities against software patents.

1&1 Internet is Europe's No.1 web hosting and domain name registration company. The company is based in Germany and is a subsidiary of United Internet Group, a public company of some 5,300 employees. 1&1 was established in 1992 and currently holds over 5 million British, German, French, Austrian and US customer contracts and serves over 5 million domain names at its 30,000 server strong European Data Centres. 1&1 counts more than 5 million customer contracts, of which approximately one million are websites or internet shops of small and medium-sized enterprises. Although these companies partially constitute the backbones of their economies, it is much more difficult for them than for large corporate groups to lobby with and make themselves be heard by the political authorities. For this reason, 1&1 has been committed for more than two years to the strict implementation of the European Patent Convention and demands the banning of software from the patent registers. The company particularly considers the interests of thousands of customers who have their websites and internet shops hosted at the 1&1 computer centres to be jeopardised by dubious software patents becoming legally enforceable.