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Archived updates for Thursday, December 01, 2005

EU Commissioner Seeks Dialogue on IPR Framework

In a speech to the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee on November 29, 2005, entitled "Stocktaking on Industrial and Intellectual Property," Charlie McCREEVY, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services told MPs that

One proposal which clearly meets business demands for reducing the costs of IPR protection and provides legal security is the Community Patent proposal: it is central to achieving the aims of our revised Lisbon Strategy. Nonetheless, 5 years have now passed since the Commission presented its proposals for a Community patent to the Council and the Parliament, and there is still no agreement. The reason for this delay lies in entrenched postures resulting in an unwillingness to put the long term economic interests of all of European industry ahead of short-sighted national concerns. This single, pan-European patent would be an attractive alternative option for users of patent systems in Europe.

There is a danger that the debate on the Community Patent will parallel the
play “Waiting for Godot”. Lots of clever discussion but Compat, like Godot, the
main character, never shows up. During my mandate I am willing to make one
determined effort to ensure the adoption of the Community Patent. However, I do
not want to be in the situation, four years from now, when I am handing this
portfolio over to my successor, to be telling him or her that I am still waiting
for the Community Patent.

We owe it to industry, investors, researchers, to have an effective
patent regime in the EU. Unless we can find agreement soon on the Community
Patent, this is not going to happen.

I do not see the circumstances arising in the next few months that will
create the conditions for the one determined effort I envisage. Accordingly, I
would like to use the next three months to launch and engage in a dialogue to
determine what might usefully be done to provide Europe with a sound IPR
framework. As well as continuing to strive for the Community Patent an issue to
be considered is the existing framework of the European Patent Office,
especially the litigation arrangements. I would like to hear what stakeholders
think of this idea.

I know that some of you have suggested a third way: the harmonisation of
national patent rules. Of course, at this stage, all avenues should be explored.
But before going up this avenue, we would need to be sure of the added value, so
I intend also to seek views on this suggestion.

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