Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Jacques de Werra
Chapter 19: The need to harmonize intellectual property licensing law: a European perspective
The key role of intellectual property in the shaping of a successful innovation policy has been duly identified in Europe as well as in many other parts of the world: intellectual property constitutes an important component of the regulatory architecture supporting a competitive knowledge-based economy. This role was confirmed in numerous official EU documents and statements, particularly in the Communication of the EU Commission of May 24, 2011, which states that “European IPR legislation must provide the appropriate ‘enabling framework’ that incentivizes investment by rewarding creation, stimulates innovation in an environment of undistorted com- petition and facilitates the distribution of knowledge.”2 The European Commission even expressed the view that “IP is the capital that feeds the new economy”. This focus on intellectual property should however not hide the fact that intellectual property rights, as well as the intellectual property regulations which protect them, cannot make miracles by themselves and cannot fully achieve the declared goal of feeding the new economy if intellectual property rights as commercial assets cannot be put to efficient use by third parties with the authorization of the IP owner. This was duly confirmed by the European Commission which stated that a “better use of IP portfolios by means of licensing and commercial exploitation is central to successful business models”.3 This consequently requires that the stakeholders (intellectual property owners and users) shall be in a position to rely on and have trust in a clear and predictable regulatory framework which shall not only define and protect intellectual property rights as such
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