The second chunk of today's Alliance conference [click here for a note on the first Part, which is more UK-centric] commenced with two further press-button poll questions leaning towards developments in the EU. First,
Whose views and actions do you consider to have the most impact on business in the UK?
- The UK government
- The European Commission
- The European Parliament
What's the best approach to addressing the problems of publishers in the digital age? [this verbal formulation may be subject to correction]
- Licensing 61.8%
- Revision of the Copyright Directive 38.2%
Michel Barnier (whom you can follow on Twitter, as this Kat does, at @MBarnierEU). IP is the bedrock of Europe, the Commissioner stressed, emphasising the importance the interlocking issues of protection, access to content and information and diversity. Many roadblocks to online business are quite unrelated to copyright -- but that doesn't mean that copyright can act as a roadblock itself.
Turning to the unitary patent, M Barnier described it -- and the new EU patent package -- as a trigger for the encouragement of innovation and growth. However, "there is no room for complacency. We have to make it work". So far only Austria has ratified it; others must do so soon. Next in Europe's IP toolbox is the trade mark, where reform proposals are on the table and should be accelerated because there is no time to lose in improving the system. IP enforcement must be tightened: the loss of ACTA was a "bruising lesson" that you can't conduct negotiations behind doors, without informing consumers and allowing for debate. The last tool in the box is trade secrets. There is a growing concern about theft of secrets, especially through cyber-theft. An initiative for action in this field will be made soon, probably before the end of this year.