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ESC opinion on technology transfer agreements

The Economic and Social Committee has published its opinion on the proposed Commission Regulation on the application of Article 85(3) of the Treaty to certain categories of technology transfer agreements (OJ No C 178 of 30.6.1994). The Commission proposal is intended to combi...

The Economic and Social Committee has published its opinion on the proposed Commission Regulation on the application of Article 85(3) of the Treaty to certain categories of technology transfer agreements (OJ No C 178 of 30.6.1994). The Commission proposal is intended to combine regulations for certain types of licensing agreements and of know-how agreements into a single Regulation covering technology transfer agreements. This would allow the rules governing patent licensing agreements and know-how agreements to be harmonized as far as possible. The underlying purpose of existing regulations is to encourage the dissemination of technical knowledge and to promote the manufacture of new and improved products within the European Union. The ESC opinion commends the initiative taken by the Commission in formulating plans to merge the patent-licensing and the know-how Regulation into one Regulation and is supportive of the Commission's proposals subject to certain changes being made. The ESC feels, however, that insufficient weight is given to the need to stimulate investment in new technology and its transfer from one Member State to another. If implemented, the proposals would actively discourage the transfer of technology and thus prevent the stated prime objectives of the proposals to be realized. The ESC is of the opinion that inadequate weighting has been given to the Commission's own White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment and to the need to encourage the dissemination of new technology and to avoid unnecessary procedural burdens. In addition to the ESC opinion on the market-share limits which it considers would render the whole Regulation unworkable, the Committee recommends that the period for application of the Regulation should be ten years since the majority of licensing agreements are often drawn up to cover that period.