International Chamber of Commerce Policy Statement on European Community Patent Regulation

October 14, 2003

Paris, 13 Oct 2003

Full text

Commission on Intellectual Property, 7 October 2003

Summary

The International Chamber of Commerce, the world business organization, has always supported the establishment of a Community Patent system across the EU as being in the best interests of world business. However, ICC has concluded that the Community Patent system as currently envisaged does not unfortunately generally satisfy all the four main criteria for a Community Patent system to be acceptable to business. These criteria are:

  • fully satisfactory litigation arrangements;
  • low cost for obtaining and maintaining Community Patents;
  • a supervisory body independent of the European Patent Office to supervise the Community Patent system administered by the EPO;
  • continued co-existence with existing patent systems.
While the last two criteria may well be met by the system as finally agreed, the first (and important) criterion may not be satisfied and the second and equally important criterion is not met. ICC stresses that the envisaged system must be substantially improved if the system finally introduced is to be used by world business to a significant degree.

Introduction

ICC has always campaigned for the provision of strong world-wide cost-effective non-discriminatory intellectual property systems as being an essential requirement for the world business community. As part of this campaign, ICC has supported all efforts to harmonize national intellectual property laws. Such harmonization is beneficial to world business, for example by reducing the cost of obtaining intellectual property rights and enforcing them against infringers. The ICC campaign has been directed in particular towards the protection of innovative technology by patents and similar rights. ICC firmly believes that companies which innovate technology should be able to obtain and enforce quickly, cheaply and without aggravation the intellectual property rights protecting such technology, but most importantly the potency of these rights should always be commensurate with the contribution made by the innovation. Further, a third party wishing to commercialize its own technology must be able to determine, also quickly and cheaply and without aggravation, whether it is free to work that technology as far as intellectual property rights belonging to competitors are concerned. Therefore, any intellectual property system must, to be acceptable to world business, maintain a fair balance between these two factors and any proposals for harmonizing and simplifying intellectual property laws in Europe or anywhere else will be carefully scrutinized by ICC. This applies in particular to any proposal to establish a Community Patent system across the European Union.

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©2003 International Chamber of Commerce

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