Patents and standards can work together

10 May 2011

At first sight, patents and standards may seem contradictory. Certainly, when defining a standard to be used by all the players in a particular market, it is indeed vital to know what is patented and what is not. However, sometimes different companies file large numbers of patents around the same technology. This may call for some specific solution, such as patent pooling. Another angle is to improve transparency.

That is why, last Friday, I signed an agreement with the International Telecommunication Union, a Geneva-based United Nations agency dealing with standardisation and co ordination of the use of radio spectrum to improve telecommunications. This agreement will create links between EPO and ITU databases, enabling the ITU to establish much more easily whether a technology is patented or not.

For the EPO, it will enhance our access to all ITU documentation. That might seem a fairly technical development but could in fact have a huge impact. For instance, in the telecommunications field we estimate that roughly 35% of all prior-art citations relevant for patent examination originate from standardisation institutions like the ITU.

The EPO is the first patent office in the world ever to sign an agreement with this body. But enriching our prior-art databases is a necessary first step on the way to raising still further the quality of our final products, and we are open to all co operation with potential to improve the patent system and enhance its impact on the innovation cycle.

BenoƮt Battistelli

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One comment on Patents and standards can work together

  1. Appert says:

    I’m a serial inventor who becames crazy with the cost of IP protection (Taxes of OEB, taxes of country, mandatory, translation, fees, customs formation, counterfight action).
    I’m also teacher in the 3 first engineering schoosl in the intellectual property field.
    What can I say to my student ? My products are cheaper to produce than the other but the IP costs are huge so that we have problems to reach the market.
    The IP costs are completly discconnected with the reality : the cost increase each year what ever if there is crisis. There is many way to decrease the IP cost thanks to the new communications functions for example to limit the number of mandatory in order to inform directly the IP owners and to automate process.
    The IP owner can read evidently different languages, so we shouldn’t have to translate in all languages.
    These taxes are not used efficiency, in order for exemple to inform citizen about new technologies available, especially when it’s ecological technologies in their country, to teach to all students what is intellectual property or at least all judges (like in US) or customs !
    Big compagny start to conterfight our products that they can sell with redced price and reach the market. It’s very hard for us to block them and prove damages. In US, there is a law who block forever the conterfighter when one is discovered, why isn’t in our customs laws ?
    My conclusion is that this system isn’t sustainable today for little compagnies. It limits the capabilities of european compagnies to grow and start the ecological revolution.
    Please, try to reduce the cost.
    For myself, I’ll never patent anymore other products if you continue with this poilitc.
    Best regards.
    Sylvain Appert

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