16 July 2007

Not Really Patent At All

Hmm, I'm not really clear what's going on with this "European Interoperability Patent" (EIOP) stuff:

Essentially, it is an idea that is based on what he calls the concept of “soft IP”, which, he says, is encapsulated within the Blue Skies strand of the EPO’s Scenarios project. The EIOP would be an EU-wide patent granted by the EPO that would be “open”. In other words, EIOP owners would not be able to get injunctive relief – either preliminary or permanent in cases of infringement; instead, EIOP owners would effectively be signing up to the concept of licences of right, so that anyone who wanted to use a patent would be able to do so as long as an appropriate licensing fee was paid (it is a concept that exists under the laws of some European countries already, including the UK). If a fee could not be agreed, then the matter would go to the courts, which would adjudicate on what amount would be reasonable.

Actually, I can understand where IBM is going with this, but I'm less sure about the FFII on the basis of the following hints:

“The FFII has a new leadership and we think that it has changed, and become more mature. The FFII is critical if Europe is going to develop as somewhere in which to build a patent system that can exist in a more facilitative and less conflicting nature with open innovation models … the FFII has influence and a strong voice; something it proved in the CII debate. We feel there is now an opportunity to engage and have a constructive dialogue.”

CII refers to the dreaded "computer-implemented invention", and is basically a trick to get European software patents in through the back door. I do hope that the FFII is not going to do something silly. I obviously need to investigate further. (Via The Inquirer.)

No comments: