European Commission publishes a proposal for revised rules for technology transfer agreements

On 20 February 2013 the European Commission published a proposal for revised rules for technology transfer agreements. The rules offer a safe harbor for technology transfer agreements that meet certain criteria and guidance on the assessment of various types of agreements for licensing technology.

Important changes include revisions to the current rule that certain exclusive grant backs and non-challenge clauses would no longer benefit from safe harbor but need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Also the conditions to qualify for safe harbor rules have been tightened and their scope narrowed.

Guidelines on the assessment of patent pools and settlements of infringement suits have been revised. In particular, the guidelines clarify that the so-called reverse payment settlements may restrict competition and raise anti-competition considerations.

The proposals are currently subject to a public consultation and are expected to be finalized before the expiration of the current rules on 30 April 2014. [Juha Vesala]