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EC schedules public hearing on patents

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The European Commission has called a public meeting to discuss future patent policy, following the defeat of the directive on Computer Implemented Inventions last year.

In January this year, the commission launched a public consultation on the subject, covering four main areas: the basic principles of the patent system; the proposed Community patent; other initiatives such as the London Protocol and the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA); and possible areas for harmonisation at Community level.

European Patent Office head professor Alain Pompidou is scheduled to address the meeting, to be held in Brussels on 12 July, as is internal markets commissioner Charlie McCreevy.

McCreevy told MEPs: "Consultation is intended to ensure that any further possible action in the area of EU patents policy takes account of all stakeholders' needs without discrimination. Parliament will be duly informed of the results of this consultation."

McCreevy has also said in written answers to MEPs that he intends to "give the Community patent one last try during my term of office", but stressed that he would prefer parliament to be involved in the decision process.

So far more than 2,000 consultation replies have been sent to the commission. Respondents include small and large businesses, academic institutions, patent specialists, public bodies, and other interested individuals.

Forty of these, selected to represent "the balance of opinion in the written replies" will speak at the hearing, the commission says. ®

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