Comments on the Draft Block Exemption Regulation on the Application of Article 81(3) of the Treaty to Categories of Technology Transfer Agreements

Published: 19 December 2003

Policies & Issues: Legal

Orgalime welcomes the Commission initiative to modernise the current Block Exemption Regulation on Transfer of Technology with a view to simplifying it and making it clearer.  We particularly welcome the Commission’s flexible approach, including only a limited number of black clauses.

However, Orgalime is concerned that the proposed regulation might lead to legal uncertainty for companies or hamper our industry’s capacity to innovate and exploit the results of R&D: the Regulation and the guidelines, as they stand, give the impression that the licensing of technology is, as a rule, a somewhat dubious process.  This is not only inconsistent with economic reality but, more worryingly, may lead to a situation where licensors prefer to keep their technology for themselves or transfer it to licensees outside the EU where more flexible rules exist.  Such a situation would not, in our opinion, promote the competitiveness of our industry in the EU and would, run contrary to the objectives of the Lisbon agenda.

We are also concerned by the use of market thresholds for the purpose of determining whether or not a specific licence has anti-competitive effects: our industry operates in an area where innovation, very often in niche markets, is central to the competitiveness of manufacturers.  The introduction of market thresholds therefore seems to us completely inappropriate.

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