November 14, 2006

FFII announces the European Patent Conference: “Towards a New European Patent System”

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Brussels, 14 November 2006 — The FFII today announced the European Patent Conference (EUPACO), a series of events under the banner, “Towards a New European Patent System”.

Hintjens said, “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,” explains Hintjens. “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. Both events are free to all. A larger, international event is planned for May 2007.

The FFII is calling for speakers and participants from all sectors and disciplines. Hintjens points out that “problems in the patent system affect all industries and all consumers. The European Patent Conference is the ideal opportunity for those who want to fix these problems.”

For more information, see http://www.eupaco.org.

Contact Information

Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+32-2-414 84 03 (fixed)
+32-484-56 61 09 (mobile)
bhenrion at ffii.org
(French/English)

About the FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association registered in twenty European countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 850 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.