European Commission sets out to create an Innovation Union

On 6 October 2010 the European Commission announced strategic plans to promote innovation in the European Union by, among other things, addressing obstacles that prevent ideas from reaching the market. Proposed measures for turning the European Union into an Innovation Union are outlined in a communication from the European Commission.

Some of the measures relate to competition policy. In particular, the Commission notes that collaborative intellectual property right (IPR) arrangements, such as cross-licensing agreements and patent pools, while often pro-competitive, need to be examined in order to ensure that they are not used anti-competitively. Further, according to the Commission, standard-setting processes require clear IPR rules so as to avoid the possibility that companies will receive unfair market power when their IPRs are incorporated into standards.

The measures also include promoting Europe-wide marketplaces for trading IPRs and a subsequent legislative proposal to speed up and modernize standard-setting. [Juha Vesala]