I’m taking the floor today on behalf of ECIS, the European Committee for Interoperable Systems.
ECIS would like to congratulate you on your election to the chair of this very important committee. We thank you for your generosity in giving us an opportunity to speak today. I will be very brief.
ECIS is an international non-profit association of IT companies, including IBM, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat, Opera, Oracle and others.
It focuses on IP issues concerning interoperability and competition.
It has been a WIPO observer for nearly 20 years, but has been less active in recent years.
The Committee’s focus on standards and patents has captured our attention. This is an extremely important issue, and one on which WIPO could play a highly constructive role, both in pursuing concrete measures and in competence-building. The latter is especially important in the developing world, which is heavily affected by these issues but not involved in or necessarily aware of the relevant standardization processes and consequences.
Patents and standards are intended to achieve similar goals: to encourage innovation and development of new products benefiting consumers and economic development.
But the interplay between patents and standards is spawning ever greater problems. For example, failure to disclose patents essential to standards and excessive royalty demands threaten the viability of standards and the consumer welfare that can flow from them.
We believe WIPO could play a crucial role in understanding and devising solutions to these problems, and we encourage this committee seriously to pursue them.