The first meeting of the EU-China IP Working Group took place in Beijing on 18 October 2005. Mr. Luc Devigne headed the European side, which raised concerns about exemptions in the Chinese law that prevent European patent holders from individually collecting royalties for open standards. The revised Chinese patent law of 2009 contains more such exemptions.
In February 2010 the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission published a report of a meeting which its representative Luc DeVigne held in Beijing in 2005.
At that time China had launched a “National IP Strategy” in whose framework it was involving thousands of scholars and stakeholders, also from outside China, in discussions about needs for reforms in the current patent law, which led to a major revision of the law in 2008. This revision prescribed narrow claim interpretations and compulsory licenses for patents used in standards and even for insufficiently used patents.
At the meeting reported about here, the representatives of the European Commission seem to argue unilaterally in favor of unfettered patent enforcement even in cases where the Chinese law provides for restrictions and exemptions.
Of particularly interest to us is the section “IP & Competition”, which says that DG Trade is pushing China to revise its law so as to allow individual patent holders to collect royalties for the use of “open standards”.
It is to be suspected that the new rules, which have meanwhile come out, were quite disappointing to the Eurepean Commission’s Trade Representative.
Maybe someone in the European Parliament could ask for clarifications.