Feeds

EU revises patent licensing rules

Less bureaucracy, the Brussels way

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

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

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.