I.R.I.S. prefers the reverse engineering risk to the patent litigation risk
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Presentation given at IP Summit
At IP Summit 2004, Pierre De Muelenaere (president and CEO of I.R.I.S.), gave the following presentation: download. In this presentation, he explains what he thinks about the "computer-implemented inventions" directive and why an innovative company like I.R.I.S. prefers no software patents.
- I.R.I.S. was founded in 1987, has a revenue of 43 million euro, employs 250 people
High R&D investments: 9% of revenue, 70 high-level scientists and software developers
- Competes on the international market, main competition comes from US-based companies
- Strategy to protect IP: copyright
- Advantages over patents:
- No requirement to disclose innovations
- No patenting costs
- As SME, I.R.I.S. does not have the resources to check for infringements and enforce the patents
- Basic problem is piracy (basic) and not reverse engineering (sophisticated)
- USA experience:
- More than 10% of revenue comes from the USA
- Many software patents are broad and trivial
- I.R.I.S. has been involved in IP-litigation in the USA
- Litigation costs are outside the reach of SMEs
- Lots of patent abuse (by large companies and specialised "IP-firms")
- Growing concern in the USA itself about patent system
- European software patents? Many open questions.
- I.R.I.S. is not an open source company
Invests a lot in R&D
- Doesn't want to be copied, is strongly against piracy
- In favor of strong copyright enforcement
- Strongly against software patents
- Prefers the reverse engineering risk to the litigation risk
The Belgian enterprise Image Recognition Integrated Systems (I.R.I.S.) was founded in 1987 and is listed on Euronext Brussels (IRI). I.R.I.S. is market leader in optical character recognition (OCR), automated document readers and electronic document management.
In 2003, the I.R.I.S. Group realised a turnover of 42.729.660 euro. I.R.I.S. has more than 240 employees and divisions in Louvain-La-Neuve and Brussels (Belgium), Massy and Rueil-Malmaison (France), Luxembourg and Delray Beach (USA).
I.R.I.S. was elected as "Enterprise of the Year 2002" by the Belgian committee of the international competition "Entrepreneur of the Year".