[ffii] FFII President says current patent system not sustainable

FFII Press Center media-help at ffii.org
Mon Dec 11 11:16:44 CET 2006

PRESS RELEASE -- [ Europe / Economy / ICT ]

FFII President says current patent system not sustainable

Brussels, 11 December 2006 -- At the pan-European IP Summit in Brussels 
last week, FFII President Pieter Hintjens warned that growing imbalances 
were putting the entire patent system at risk. His comments were echoed 
in Gowers' report issued by Britain's Treasury, which called for a new 
balance  between patent holders and the public.

Hintjens called on the patent industry to stop promoting proposals that 
make things worse and to take five key actions that he said were 
necessary to create a sustainable patent system: to stop the polemics, 
to resolve conflicts of interest, to seek appropriate models, to return 
to basics, and to undertake constructive dialogue.

Hintjens is skeptical of the European Patent Office's plans to create a 
new European Patent Court: "This plan assumes all is well with the 
patent system except that litigation is too costly.  It ignores the 
deeper problems, and if implemented, would be start of the end of the 
patent system in Europe.  Anyone who makes their living from patents 
(not to mention those who don't wish to see further expansion of the 
patent system) should be extremely concerned with this proposal."

"It's easy for the patent industry to focus on the champagne and success 
stories.  But there are deeper problems and these are getting worse as 
we speak: the evaporation of patent quality, the growth of for-profit 
patent administrations, the schisms between different industries who 
struggle to share a single patent model, the creation of vast patent 
thickets, the loss of product-driven innovation in many areas, mounting 
litigation, and an increasing loss of public and political support for 
the entire patent system", he explains.

He warns that "when an entire industry, no matter how wealthy, starts to 
lose public and political support, it can rapidly find itself at the 
sharp end of politically forced reforms.  The patent industry is 
vulnerable because of its claims to be driving economic growth.  When 
economies slow - as the US economy is doing - such claims start to look 
very hollow, and people start to wonder: if the patent industry does not 
drive economic growth, what exactly does it do, and for whom?"


* Hintjens' proposals are detailed on the FFII Digital Majority website

* FFII EPLA workgroup

* FFII EU patent system reform workgroup

* Permanent link to this PR


Contact information

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

About the FFII -- http://www.ffii.org

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.

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