Monday, January 23, 2006

EU Commission Consultation on Patents

The EU Commission have launched a public consultation on patent policy. It runs until the 31st of March this year and on the basis of the feedback they get the Commission will be organising a meeting in Brussels on the issue in the early summer.

The consultation says that

"The idea behind the patent system is that is should be used by business and research organisations to support innovation, growth and quality of life for the benefit of all in society."

And that it should have the following features:

"- clear substantive rules on what can and cannot be covered by patents, balancing the interests of right hodlers with the overall objectives of the patent system

- transparent, cost effective and accessible processes for obtaining a patent

- predictable, rapid and inexpensive resolution of disputes between right holders and other parties

- due regard for other public policy interests such as competition (anti-trust), ethics, environment, healthcare, access to information, so as to be effective and credible within society"

It goes on to ask if these are the key features or if there should be others included and how can the EU take into account the broader public interest in developing patent policy.

I can think of one question immediately: why should the system only be used by business and research organisations to support innovation etc.? What about individuals and civil society?

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