[A2k] FSFE statement to WIPO CDIP/6 on project on "IP and competition policy"

Karsten Gerloff gerloff at fsfeurope.org
Wed Nov 24 09:48:54 PST 2010

Dear all,

please find below FSFE's statement made to WIPO's CDIP committee
regarding the project on "IP and Competition Policy".

best regards,


Free Software Foundation Europe would like to briefly remark on the
project on "IP and competition policy". We appreciate the efforts that
WIPO is making to explore this very important topic, and are glad to
see the project progress. Competition policy is crucial in maintaining
open and competitive markets, and provides an important element of
balance to the exclusivity created by copyright and patents. We
believe that this is a valuable project to investigate the complex
relationship between copyright, patents, and competition policies.

As regards past work under this project, we have taken note in
particular of the seminar organised by WIPO in the framework of this
project on October 25 here in Geneva, with the title "Enforcing
Antitrust Law with Reference to Intellectual Property Assets: New
Developments and Perspectives".

The seminar's agenda comprised the session on institutional
perspectives, and one on business perspectives. As we reviewed the
agenda, we were surprised to see that the event did not include the
perspectives of the third set of stakeholders in competition policy:
users and consumers.

The industry perspective was provided by Microsoft, Boehringer
Ingelheim, Philips and Qualcomm. Speaking as we do from the background
of software, we would note that Microsoft in particular has been
convicted of anticompetitive practices in high-profile cases in the
United States and Europe. While this would certainly endow the company
with some experience on the subject, it seems inappropriate to place
them as the sole source of input on the intricacies of competition
policy in the software market. This would clash directly with
Recommendation 23 of the Development Agenda, which calls for the
promotion of pro-competitive licensing policies. We would have wished
that a broader set of perspectives had been taken into account in
organising the seminar.

We would encourage member states to look to the Secretariat for
assurances that the project as a whole is indeed taking into account
the perspectives of users and consumers. We also hope that user and
consumer stakeholders will be invited to provide their perspectives
during the further course of the project. Free Software Foundation
Europe will be very happy to support WIPO by providing expert input
and assist WIPO and its member states in exploring this very important


Karsten Gerloff                      [ ]   <gerloff at fsfeurope.org>
Free Software Foundation Europe   [ ][ ][ ]      [http://fsfe.org]
President                            | |         +49 176 9690 4298
Your donation powers our work!           [http://fsfe.org/donate/]

Free Software Foundation Europe e.V. is a German Verein registered
at the Registergericht Hamburg (VR 17030). 

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