Feeds

EU revises patent licensing rules

Less bureaucracy, the Brussels way

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.