Feeds

EU revises patent licensing rules

Less bureaucracy, the Brussels way

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The European Commission today adopted new rules for the licensing of patents, know-how and software copyright. Brussels said the new rules - part of a "fundamental reform" of European antitrust regulations due to come into force on 1 May - will reduce bureaucracy.

More licensing agreements will henceforth benefit from a regulatory safe harbour, saving many agreements from individual scrutiny. These safe harbour rules apply only below certain market share thresholds (20 per cent for licensing agreements between competitors and 30 per cent for agreements between non-competitors).

The new block exemption regulation will have a black list of hardcore antitrust violations, in contrast with previous rules where white and grey lists operated.

The new rules replace a 1996 block exemption regulation, which was narrower in scope and criticised as creating a legal "strait-jacket" that sometimes ran contrary to commercial imperatives.

The 2004 regulations will also cover design right and software copyright licensing (the controversial bit) and not just patent and know-how licensing as before.

Mario Monti, the Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: "The reform of our rules on technology transfer agreements will facilitate wide dissemination of innovation and give companies greater scope and design freedom. By strengthening the incentives for innovation while focusing on those restrictions which can seriously damage competition, competition policy can play an important role in injecting new dynamism into the EU economies."

Licensing is important for economic development as it helps disseminate innovation and allows companies to integrate and use complementary technologies and capabilities.

However, the EU recognises that licensing agreements can also be used for anti-competitive purposes (which are prohibited by Article 81 of the Treaty of Rome).

There's therefore a need to strike a balance between promoting competition and protecting intellectual property rights.

The updated regulation and guidelines will be available from the EU's website here. ®

Related

Sun settles with MS for $2bn (ish)
EC erects toll booth for Microsoft's open source rivals
No US patent for the patently obvious
EC IP enforcement threatens more SCO-style attacks
EU patent legislation will destroy small business
EU software patents: the readers speak
Open source prepares to kiss EU patent ass goodbye

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.