Heavyweights like Nokia and Microsoft on one hand, and the grass-roots Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure on the other, are making common cause against wide-ranging legislation proposed by the European Commission that would criminalize all intellectual property infringements, including patent violations. The law would provide blanket protection to all forms of intellectual property across the 25 countries of the Union.
Tim Frain, director of intellectual property at Nokia, called the inclusion of patents within the scope of a European law “ludicrous.” Frain, who is based near London, advises managers at Nokia on the risks of infringing existing patents when they develop new functions for mobile phones. Frain indicated that patent holders wanted protection but not penalties of imprisonment as they tested the boundaries of other patents. “It’s never black and white,” he said. “Sometimes third-party patents are so weak that I advise managers to go ahead and innovate because, after making a risk analysis, we feel we can safely challenge the existing patent.”
Not even the music and film industry claim to want IPRED2, as it does not help them. So why, if anybody with any idea in the field wants the directive gone and forgotten, does the Commission insist on it?