JURI Transcripts 050421: Brian Crowley MEP

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(NB: the sound quality was not good. The transcription below still needs some corrections and some gaps filled in, and is probably best read in conjunction with listening to the original audio)

Brian Crowley (UEN, IE):

(28.26) Thank you very much, Mr President, and I'd like to join in our thanking Michel Rocard for his work on this matter.

(28.37) ... Rocard ... French language ...

(28.50) And we've all been bombarded with emails and information concerning this issue over the last number of months. At times it's difficult to know where the truth actually lies. But in all these extremes, you have to go back to the basic text of the original Commission communication, as regards what was the intention, what was the idea, and what basis was the proposal brought forward.

(29.20) And I think a number of key elements flow from that: firstly, that this is not creating something new out of thin air. This is merely trying to consolidate and coordinate what is already happening at a national level, albeit at different interpretations of what the protections are, under patent law of the national level; and also, what is patentable and not patentable under the national level.

(29.45) Secondly, one idea, and again there has been much dispute and discussion about this, who will it benefit? Unfortunately it appears to me to have become a battle between the so-called big bad companies and small garage innovators, creators who will be swamped by the strength and by the ... of the big bad companies. Again, if we look, the reality of it is that of the patents that have been granted in the European Union, in the 25 member states, and in the U.S. over the last ten years, 92% of them have been granted for medium-sized enterprises, or ...

(30:30) As well as that, we have also ... What is not patentable now, will not become patentable under the provision. So the idea that people think that we create new protection for communication or utilising whatever we may now have decreed within this Parliament is incorrect.

(30:50) And we have to look at the real examples that we have before us. If you look at the countries and the areas that are exporting the largest amount of software and technology and computer-implemented invention, that most of them have some sort of protection under patent law. We all know the difference between copyright law and patent law, but most of them have got some form of protection under patent law. But by its very nature they ... protection and this is something that they agree to give up or to sell out.

(31:30) With regards to the question of interoperability, this is again another issue which has arisen in the recent past, because we're all beginning to get a greater understanding of the necessity for interoperability between the program and so on. But using the argument of interoperability should not mean that a creator or an inventor or an innovator should be denied the protection for their idea, provided that it meets the strict criteria that should be laid down.

(31.55) And the last point I'd make, Mr President, is that I personally believe -- as you know, we spoke of this some time ago, at a meeting earlier of this committee, and I hope again -- referring the text of the Commission bringing the proposal. Simply because all ... , it will amend the legislation to make the improvement we think should be made to make it better. And that encourages other possibilities, not only to listen to the different sides of industry and the different voices that come forward, but also to take a leadership issue, not to be afraid, to stand up against a tide of lobbying from wherever it comes, but to actually take a leadership issue, on the rights and wrongs of the proposals that are before us, and the proposed changes and amendments that may be made to them. I personally believe that what was originally proposed wouldn't in any way interfere with the TRIPS agreement; I personally believe that even some of the amendments put forward in this parliament wouldn't necessarily require extra work or interpretation with regards to the TRIPS agreement. But likewise, I also not only believe but ... that there is no underhand action being taken at Council level against the Parliament or against individual ideas within this house or within TRIPS lobby groups. But there is a need for industry, there is a need for innovation, and there is a need for legal certainty that we take action on this, and conclude this quickly. And that requires us to actually put aside whatever ideological differences we may have, concerning the rights and wrongs of whatever interpretions of the trivial and ensure that the amendments we put through at first reading, which have been rejected by Parliament, or rather by the Commission or by the Council, that we find public ... brought back into the scene on the second reading to strengthen up the proposal being debated. For ultimately, we must get back to the basics. This is not about philosophy; this is not about intellectualism; this is about creating certainty within the legal framework to allow innovators to co-operate in a real and honest and open system.

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