Here we go again. After a rather clear indication that most people in the EU do not want software patents, the EU is ignoring that and asking how best to implement them. The question isn't framed as, do you or don't you want them. It's framed as how best to move forward to get them. Oh, and they'd like to hear from "all interested stakeholders." Thanks to Cristian Miceli's article, and Ben Klemens' new book, "Math You Can't Use", there is plenty of valuable information to add to the conversation. Talk about timing. Read on for the press release with all the gory details.
Internal Market: Commission asks industry and other stakeholders for their views on future patent policy
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on how future action in patent policy to create an EU-wide system of protection can best take account of stakeholders' needs. While the Community Patent remains a priority, the Commission is also seeking views on what measures could be taken in the near future to improve the patent system in Europe. All interested stakeholders, including industry and individuals, are encouraged to reply. The closing date is 31 March 2006.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "Good intellectual property rules are essential: by stimulating innovation and leading to the successful development of new products, they help to generate growth and jobs. We want to maximise these benefits in Europe by making the single market for patents a reality. This is why I am asking businesses and individuals alike to give me their views on how we should move forward to achieve this. Meanwhile we will of course continue to strive for the Community Patent, which remains central to our policy."
The Commission is committed to boosting the competitiveness of EU industry and improving the framework conditions in which it operates. To this end, industrial property, which includes patents, has been identified as one of the seven major cross-sectoral policy initiatives in the Commission's new industrial policy put forward on 5 October 2005 (IP/05/1225). As part of its commitment to Better Regulation, the Commission has launched this consultation to ensure that any new proposals in the area of EU patents policy reflect stakeholders' needs.
The consultation focuses on three major issues: the Community patent; how the current patent system in Europe could be improved; and possible areas for harmonisation. The Commission is also seeking views on what action could be taken while work on the Community patent is continuing, in particular within the framework of the existing European patent system, or by bringing national patent systems more closely in line with each other through either approximation of laws or mutual recognition of national patents. The legal framework for jurisdiction over patent disputes is an area of significant interest in this context.
The feedback obtained from stakeholders will form the basis of a hearing, which the Commission intends to organise in Brussels on 13 June 2006.
The questionnaire is available at:
More information on the EU's industrial property policy is available at: