Public Interventions Patents: How much to share? How much to protect?

Speeches | 16-10-2013

Today, in the European Parliament, Maria da Graça Carvalho hosted the 1st meeting of the Informal Working Group on Patents: How much to share? How much to protect?

During the last decade the number of patents filed has increased exponentially. Between 1993 and 2009, the number of patented inventions doubled from 900,000 to 1.8 million; 500,000 new applications are filed every year worldwide. Recently, the Chinese Patent Office became the first most important patent office in the world in terms of number of patent applications filed. In China additionally, the percentage of domestic patent applications to total patent volume was 72,7% in 2010. In Europe it was of 15,1% in the same year.

The largest increase in patents filed is accounted for by complex technologies, such as advanced materials, electronics, nanotechnologies, biotechnologies and photonics. A growing number of innovations are combinations of inventions from different fields, originating from different sources. An average Android smartphone is, for example, protected by more than 250,000 patents while the average 4G phone is protected by 80,000 patents.

As the patent environment is growing increasingly complex, the major players driving innovation in Europe, SMEs and public research organizations, are too often excluded. Meanwhile the EU is experiencing a trade deficit in royalties and other licensing fees coming from patents.

How much to share? How much to protect? How to increase licensing? What about open innovation? Should we aim at patenting more? How to design the best pro-competitive policies for Europe? These are some of the questions the working group on patents will address. Its general objective is to generate discussions and exchanges on what could be new tools and strategies for European researches and businesses to engage and invest in innovation for the future.

Ms Carvalho delivered the opening speech. Patrick Terroir - Caisse des Dépôts focused his intervention on News economics of invention and patent, the reasons for a European initiative. The closing remarks were made by Catherine Trautmann, MEP; Amelia Andersdotter, MEP; Kent Jonhansson, MEP and Marisa Matias, MEP.

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