Answer given by Mr McCreevy on behalf of the Commission
The Commission believes that high quality patent rights that fulfil the legal requirements are an essential element of a well-functioning patent system. The notion of patent quality can be considered from a number of different perspectives covering individual granted patent rights and also the objective of the system as a whole to encourage innovation. This makes quality difficult to measure. However, in the replies to the 2006 Commission's consultation on future patent policy in Europe, respondents stressed the importance of rigorous examination, prior art search and strict application of patentability criteria to ensure high quality patents(1).
The Commission addressed patent quality in the communication ‘Enhancing the patent system in Europe’(2) and will further develop the issue in the forthcoming Communication on industrial property rights strategy which is expected in 2008.