Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure

The FFII is a global network of associations dedicated to information about free and competitive software markets, genuine open standards and patent systems with lesser barriers to competition. The FFII contributions enabled the rejection of the EU software patent directive in July 2005, working closely with the European Parliament and many partners from industry and civil society. CNET awarded the FFII the Outstanding contribution to software development prize for this work. FFII continues to defend your right to a free and competitive software market by working towards genuine open standards, exclusion of software patents and informational freedom. For updates please follow us on the FFII Blog and on Twitter @FFII. The FFII Head Office is located in Berlin, Germany.


Status of Software Patents in Europe


FFII calls to demonstrate against Unitary Software Patents, the third attempt to impose software patents in Europe. Software patents are a threat to small- and medium-sized software companies that cannot defend themselves. The UPC (Unified Patent Court) is an international court made outside of the European Union, which would have the last word over the question of software patenting. The Court would favour “patent trolls” which steal our jobs and extort money.

Announcement in English here Annonce in Français: here

Now comes round 3. It started in July 2005, when the proponents of software patentability agreed to drop the directive and push for the Unitary Patent instead.

Hartmut Pilch, FFII founder, summarized the situation:

"In July 2005, after several failed attempts to legalise software patents in Europe, the patent establishment changed its strategy. Instead of explicitely seeking to sanction the patentabilitty of software, they are now seeking to create a central Unitary patent court (UPC), which would establish and enforce patentability rules in their favor, without any possibility of correction by competing courts or democratically elected legislators."

Former EPO lobbyist, David Sant, also recognises that the Unitary Patent Court will lead to the validation of software patents:

"The acrimonious debate over the proposed directive on computer-implemented inventions might never have arisen if the patent litigation system in Europe had been unified, thereby eliminating the possibility of disparate national rulings on the same patent matter."

Richard Stallman, of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), in Europe's "unitary patent” could mean unlimited software patents:

"The volunteer activists drifted away, thinking the battle won, but the corporate lobbyists for software patents were paid to stay on the job. Now they have contrived another sneaky method: the "unitary patent" system proposed for the EU."

See more quotes here.

Help us

The FFII is funded through individual membership fees as well as through donations from individuals, market players and civil society organizations. Please consider becoming a contributing member or donate. Your contributions help us to make a difference and allow us to continue our work. If you want to get involved in the work of the FFII, please subscribe to our mailing lists, and check out our campaigns and activities. Details for donating to the FFII are here.



The OpenTechSummit takes place since 2009. Together with Linuxtag e.V. and Förderverein Freie Netzwerke the FFII organizes the OpenTechSummit in Berlin. The FFII curates the track “Internet, Society and Patents”. The track covers policy topics ranging from patents, copyright, net neutrality, privacy issues, digital culture and Internet policies. Other Topics are open hardware, free knowledge, software development and community networks. In the evening there is an “OpenTech-Himmelfahrt” social event.


The Cryptocon takes place in Leipzig annually. The event covers topics like secure data handling and communication as well as privcay questions and digital life in the society with talks and workshops.


As part of the activities of the FFII FashionTec working group, the FFII co-organizes the Meshcon Fashiontec Week with partners such as the Technische Universität Berlin and the Maker Faire. The event offers a place to learn, research and educate participants about the benefits of participatory production in the textile industry.

Document Freedom

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The FFII ensures consumer rights and interoperability by researching and educating the public about EU policies such as the European Interoperability Framework. With the Document Freedom Award we award excellent examples of institutions on the Document Freedom Day. Former awarded companies include 1&1 for offering an open standards based and interoperable chat application. was awarded for making their programs available in the open video format "Ogg Theora". Read more about document freedom on our blog.

Patented Webshop

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The example of the FFII webshop demonstrates the effect of trivial software patent grants for business freedom in Europe. Website and posters are currently available in German and English. More info on the webshop on our campaign site.

Software Patents World Day

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24th September is the annual Software Patents World Day to commemorate the struggle against the European Union Software Patent Directive. As every year our teams raise awareness about the impact of patents on the future of software development, even joined by activities in India. More info.

WIPO Working Group

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FFII is a registered observer organisation at WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation). The FFII WIPO group participates in activities of stakeholders and in the WIPO Conference on Intellectual Property and Public Policy Issues and on the thirteenth session of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents. Reports are available to FFII members. More info from the work group.

ACTA Working Group

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Behind closed doors the EU, US and Japan negotiated an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). No official drafts were published. The FFII followed closely the negotiations. ACTA contained a new international benchmark for legal frameworks on the enforcement of copyrights, trade mark rights, patents and others. The FFII outlined shortcomings and democratic deficit, presented an analysis and put together a draft recommendation to conclude ACTA under the Lisbon regime. The FFII issued several press releases which have been broadly covered by the media. Already in July 2009 the Centre for Intellectual property Law of Utrecht University organized a lecture by Prof. Charles McManis about ACTA. FFII's Ante Wessels participated adding remarks about the problems of the proposed agreement. More info here.


FFII Volunteers

With all the activities of the FFII e.V. the participation and support of volunteers is of utmost importance. Please join us and subscribe to our mailing list to receive our calls for volunteers.


CNET awarded the FFII the Outstanding contribution to software development prize for its charitable work and benefit for the public.

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