Peter Sutherland, EEC competition commissioner, has been charged with drafting regulations to exempt technical agreements from Article 85 of the Treaty of Rome. The article forbids companies from deciding to share markets or reach any agreements that could impair free trade.
Although the commission in the past has cracked down on efforts to share markets, it now wishes to encourage technology transfer by adopting rules similar to the regulations that govern patent licensing. Adopted three years ago, these rules allow patent holders and licensees to draw up legally enforceable agreements not to compete in each other's territories. Widespread support for the new regulations may allow the commission to bypass extended debate.