Brussels, March 8th 2006
Dear President Barroso,
Dear Commissioner McCreevy,
Dear Commissioner Wallström,
On January 16th 2006, Internal Market Commissioner McCreevy launched a consultation on the future of the Community Patent in Europe. The Commission's press release described the Community Patent as a "priority for the EU" and also stated that the "Commission is asking businesses and individuals alike to give their views on how the Commission should move forward to achieve a single market for patents in Europe".
A significant number of companies have contacted me and my staff personally with questions about the difficulty of completing the questionnaire, and its inaccessibility. The documentation is available in too few languages and even when available, it is largely incomprehensible to the typical businessman.
Given the importance that "a single market for patents in Europe" would have on businesses, and to ensure that the consultation procedure be made accessible and understandable to all affected businesses, we hereby request:
1. That the commission provide the consultation questionnaire and all other documents, treaties, and agreements referenced in the questionnaire, in all twenty official languages of the EU.
2. That the commission provide explanatory materials, in all EU languages, for the EPLA and other treaties and agreements referred to in the questionnaire. The existing texts are incomprehensible to non-specialists.
3. That the commission clarify its view of the specific problems with the patent system that its proposals are designed to fix. We would expect to see a panel of independent experts participate in such an analysis, and for each stated problem, we request clear scientific evidence of the problem and of the value of the different plausible solutions.
4. That the commission make a clear statement as to whether the Community Patent and/or EPLA would codify EPO case law, and thus software patents, or not.
We would also like to put on record our view that the consultation period (10 weeks) is too short for a "priority" issue, and that the lack of any marketing or information campaigns is likely to limit the number of firms that would participate.
Our association represents more than 3,500 companies and 100,000 individuals who are committed to or depend on a free and open market in software goods and services.
We hope that the Commission will take our requests seriously, and demonstrate that it is committed to real improvements of the patent system, and not simply acting to promote the interests of patent holders at all costs.
Pieter Hintjens FFII e.V.