EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Sir,

Regarding ‘An EU patent without Italy? Member states turn up the heat‘:

What seems to be the issue here for us in our company is the fact that every year we have to re-register the use of the patents that were developed by our parent group in the USA and that this incurs upon us inordinate costs.

With 27 member states the EU is apparently saying that this is fine, but the reality is far from the truth.

When we take the patented details from within a WIPO country to one which sits outside its control, we have to be very careful when deciding whether we should do so. It has an effect on our potential company turnover, for then we have to decide how to get around the issue.

One of our methods is to assume that since our company is registered in the UK (indeed, it has a registration by default going back to the USA), it already has accepted the fact that as it has to abide by WIPO rules, then upon subsequent usage within non-WIPO territory.

We make amends by seeking to use only those companies who will abide by strict observance of WIPO non-infringement agreements (somewhat difficult to manage) or we seek to gain the same from an Individual client (who is more often than not a government or a lower-tier government institution, a municipality, city or local government Institution or the like) and again, these are very difficult to handle.

One of the consequences of this for us is that we have to increase the price structure of the programmes we are introducing in the individual non-compliant WIPO countries in order to protect us against legal infringements. However, with some countries that have mega-economies, the potential of seeking legal address is so unrealistic as to be a non-starter from the beginning, and for those countries, avoidance of gaining work may (in some instances) be the only way forward.

It is sad to say, but these issues mean that on occasion the result is to deny the competitive nature of our waste treatment programme for use in a number of locations, with the result that the public (as the eventual purchasers of the programme through government expenditure raised by taxes) loses out big time.

I would like to see a formal unified approach centred upon the EU wherein the whole EU adopts the WIPO requirements on behalf of all of its member states (currently 27, soon to be enlarged to Turkey and others) and that it is bound by common acceptance of all under an EC Directive.

This can be implemented with almost immediate effect, for the mechanism is there already under international trade agreements.

We feel such an arrangement would be fairly acceptable and have significant benefits for all.

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