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FFII To Host Series Of Events Focusing On EU Patent System

by Ulrika Lomas, for, Brussels

16 November 2006

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) on Tuesday unveiled the European Patent Conference (EUPACO), a series of events to be held under the banner, 'Towards a New European Patent System'.

FFII President, Pieter Hintjens explained the reasoning behind the initiative, observing that:

"The patent system, both globally, and in Europe, is under serious stress. The unrestricted expansion of patentability into non-traditional areas together with the rising flood of poorly granted 'soft' patents in biotech, pharma, and software have throttled innovation. In Europe the European Patent Office earns over Euro 1bn a year but still cannot conduct proper examinations. All solutions seem to be promoting worse patents, and worse patent practice. Something must change."

"The EPO and Commission have spent much of 2006 building up a campaign to promote a new non-EU patent court, under the so-called EPLA plan. This is being sold as an 'interim' solution on the way to a real community patent, but the Commission has failed to provide a roadmap for such an evolution, and the FFII believes EPLA would be a long-term consolidation of today's broken system."

"With so much power concentrated in one place, and without proper democratic oversight, patent practice will get much worse," explained Hintjens.

He concluded:

"There are important and urgent fixes to be made in the patent system, but the Commission and EPO are blithely ignoring these issues. So, we have launched the European Patent Conference, a gathering of the wisest economists, lawyers, and industry experts. We will look at the patent system, we will build proposals for change, and we will work to get those changes implemented."

The first EUPACO event will be held in Munich on November 25th, 2006. The second event will be in Brussels on January 24th, 2007. A larger, international event is planned for May 2007.

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