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Monday, 23 April 2007

Roland Grossenbacher speaks


Intellectual Property Watch reports that the chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office has been expressing a few thoughts on the future of the patent system, at a France-Switzerland Chamber of Commerce meeting in Geneva. Catherine Saez of IP Watch writes,

"At the 19 April event, Grossenbacher [...] gave a presentation on the influence of intellectual property on trade policy. He said that the overload of the new system and the increase in developing countries as users of the patent system is good news and will lead, in time, to the reduction of piracy and counterfeiting of goods.

He also said that stricter access to patentability should be instituted, putting an emphasis on quality over quantity, he said. Four factors should be absolute prerequisites for obtaining and granting a patent: Innovation, inventive activity (if outside the realm of the specialist), strict limitations on patentability (avoiding fields for which patents are not applicable, such as software), and a significant decrease in the delays in granting patents.

Grossenbacher advocated for stricter systems for granting patents and a strengthening of patent protection, though he warned against extremes in protection. Too much or too little protection can harm innovation, he said".

The IPKat thinks that we should pay careful attention to what Herr Grossenbacher has to say, since his position is a highly influential one (and will become more so after EPC2000 comes into force). Nothing he says appears too controversial (apart perhaps from the mention of software), but this Kat wonders how the improvements to the system are to be funded. An increase in examination fees, perhaps?

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