In a speech to the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament in Brussels on February 2, 2005, the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Charlie McGreevy, had this to say about intellectual property:
The protection of intellectual and industrial property is at the heart of any
knowledge-based economy and central to the Lisbon agenda. No appropriate
protection of copyrights, patents, trademarks or designs for instance, means no
incentive for authors to create and for companies to innovate. The EU legal
framework on this area is already well developed but enforcement needs to be
I appreciate that the directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions is a very delicate issue and I would not like to underestimate the hard work which will be needed to ensure an agreement between Council and Parliament. I understand that the Luxembourg Presidency has now received written assurances concerning the re-instatement of this issue as an A point at a forthcoming Council. Needless to say, a constructive dialogue between the Council and Parliament will be vital for an agreement. Any agreement will need to strike a fair balance between different interests. Having no directive means continuing to rely on case law, which leads to considerable legal uncertainty which is why we must strive to find a balanced solution.
The Community Patent is a key initiative to reach the Lisbon target. Here again, no
Community Patent means higher costs, legal uncertainty, and fewer incentives to
research and innovation. We continue to hope that the Council will come to an
agreement on the Community Patent, although important sticking points remain.
Protection of industrial property is necessary to stimulate innovation
but over-protection does nothing to boost our competitiveness. The Commission
proposal to liberalise the after-market for spare parts (an amendment of the
designs directive) attempts to strike the right balance in this respect. The
Parliament has generally taken a favourable stance on the envisaged approach in
the past. I hope that you will continue to view the proposal favourably.