The European Commission is pressuring France and Britain to surrender patents they have secured relating to the Galileo satellite navigation System. The commission wants to avoid a chilling effect on Galileo receiver builders now worried about having to pay royalty or licensing fees. The French and British governments hold patents, which, if unchallenged, could allow them to complicate the rapid, royalty-free spread of Galileo uses.
Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani was adamant that his office ‘will not let issues like patents stand in the way of the use of Galileo. We are working on a solution.’
The commission has agreed to spend 6.3 billion euros on Galileo between 2014 and 2020. With Galileo’s full development now funded, the commission is focusing on selling the service to other European government organizations and to governments the world over. Tajani now routinely gives his counterparts in other regions of the world Galileo satellite models instead of the usual pens that fall within the permitted gift-giving limits of the commission. The commission hopes that many places in the world will adopt Galileo as an alternative to the U.S. GPS system.
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