José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, has delivered a Statement on the occasion of a meeting with Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark, on January 12, 2012:
The same goes for a common unitary patent in Europe! Frankly we are almost there; there are now some divisions between France, Germany and Britain on things that are not so difficult. We can finalise the Community patent that we have been discussing for 30 years so it is about time to come to a solution and I know that Denmark will put its influence to find a solution.
Apparently this is something like a morale-boosting slogan, a rallying call, pep talk. We shall wait and see what really will happen during the coming months of the Danish EU Presidency.
Meanwhile the European Scrutiny Committee of the UK House of Commons uttered concerns that some of the draft plans for a single EU-wide patent system could disadvantage UK small businesses, Out-Law.com reports.
In detail, the conclusions of the Committee were not very favourable:
2.23 We are struck, again, by the strength of opposition to this proposal and the linked Patent Regulation from organisations representing the patent profession — both nationally in the form of the views expressed by the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, and within the EU of the European Patent Lawyers Association (EPLAW). We note that, besides the recent remarks of the President EPLAW cited earlier in this Report, EPLAW issued a resolution on 29 October 2011 on the Patent Regulation and the unified patent court concluding that:
- the inclusion of Articles 6-8 in the Patent Regulation was a serious error; and
- extending the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice to consider substantive patent law should be avoided: patent litigants need an efficient and predictable procedure before highly experienced judges which they would not get in proceedings which would include referrals on substantive law to the Court of Justice.
2.24 We are grateful to the Minister for her early response to the questions raised in our last Report. Her answers do not, however, allay our concerns about the international agreement, and so we do not propose to release the document from scrutiny. Principal among those concerns are the effect of the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the unified patent court on small businesses seeking to enforce EPO patents through national courts and the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice being extended to cover the infringement of patents. From the submissions we have received, there appears to be a substantial body of expert opinion which thinks the Court of Justice would be wholly unsuited to this task, with profoundly negative consequences for the enforcement of intellectual property rights across the EU. If, however, the Minister can point us to a body of countervailing expert opinion which welcomes the advent of the Court of Justice’s involvement, we would be grateful to review it.
2.25 We have heard informally from the Minister’s officials that the signing ceremony planned in Warsaw for 22 December is now unlikely to take place. Although unaware of the reasons for this, obviously we welcome this news. And we urge the Government to seek to persuade the current and next Presidencies to allow for significantly more time for effective national scrutiny of the draft agreement.
2.26 Our task in scrutinising the agreement is made considerably harder by not having sight of a more recent version. Given the importance of the topic, and the considerable interest in it outside Parliament, we ask the Minister to deposit a redacted version of the agreement, as a way of avoiding the constraints of a limité Council document, which conceals negotiating positions but sets out the contents of the draft Articles to date. Or, alternatively, to provide a full explanation of the agreement in a Ministerial letter. We also ask that the Minister provide an explanation of each Article in an accompanying letter or Explanatory Memorandum.
2.27 Given the legal impact of the Patent regulation and the unified patent court domestically, we will be inviting representative organisations from the patent profession to give evidence to us in the New Year. We would also be grateful to the Minister if, on the same occasion, she would attend to give evidence too. Our officials will be in touch to arrange this.
2.28 Finally, we note the Minister says in her letter of 9 December that “it would not be usual practice for the Government to submit a document like that in 11533/11 because it concerns a draft international agreement between states acting in an inter-governmental capacity and is not based on any provision of the EU Treaties”. Our view differs: this agreement directly affects the competence of EU institutions — it is therefore of utmost importance that the Committee is able to scrutinise it. It should therefore be usual practice for all Departments to submit such international agreements for scrutiny. (Such agreements come within the category of document defined in paragraph 143 (1)(vi) of the Committee’s Standing Order.)
Articles 6 to 8 in the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the of the Council implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection (see e.g. recent Document 17578/11) as mentioned above in the Committee’s report define the legal effects of the planned European patent with unitary effect. Although, when having a look to the overall structures of patent law, it appears to be completely coherent to include these provisions just into the Regulation (which replaces national patent law comprising similar statutory clauses) , obviously there are strong interests to keep them out of the Regulation. Some players are quite fearful when considering any remote chance that the Court of Justice might grab jurisdiction of genuine patent law, in particular when delimiting patentable subject-matter from other subject-matter not patentable:
2.11 Mr Waugh is a Silk in Three New Square chambers, which specialises in intellectual property law. He writes to the Committee in response to the Minister’s letter above. [...] Of most universal concern within the patent profession is that the:
“[i]nclusion of Articles 6 to 8 in the Proposed Regulation, and not just in the draft Agreement, will ‘make substantive patent law part of EU legal order.’ Patent cases involving a ‘new’ unitary patent would be susceptible to the preliminary ruling jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU/ECJ), while ‘old’ European patents would not. Cue the ensuing costs, years of delays, uncertainty and substantive patent law being interpreted by a panel of judges who do not possess the skills and level of expertise that the judges referring the questions in the first place are required to address under Article 10 of the Draft Agreement.”
It is not known to me at the time being as to whether or not such concerns brought forward in UK politics taken alone could potentially somehow derail the entire project of a unitary patent protection in Europe. Will HMG in general and the UK PM in particular listen to such voices? Could the envisaged enhanced co-operation process (without IT, ES) politically survive an opt-out of the UK?
Axel H. Horns
German & European Patent, Trade Mark & Design Attorney
The k/s/n/h::law blog
Some of the patent attorneys of the KSNH law firm have joined their efforts to research what is going on in the various branches of IP law and practice in order to keep themselves, their clients as well as interested circles of the public up to date. This blog is intended to present results of such efforts to a wider public.
- November 2013 (2)
- October 2013 (1)
- September 2013 (1)
- August 2013 (2)
- July 2013 (3)
- June 2013 (5)
- March 2013 (5)
- February 2013 (4)
- January 2013 (5)
- December 2012 (5)
- November 2012 (5)
- July 2012 (5)
- June 2012 (8)
- May 2012 (5)
- April 2012 (3)
- March 2012 (4)
- February 2012 (5)
- January 2012 (6)
- December 2011 (12)
- November 2011 (9)
- October 2011 (9)
- September 2011 (4)
- August 2011 (7)
- July 2011 (4)
- June 2011 (1)
- business methods (6)
- EPC (7)
- EPO (12)
- EU law (92)
- European Patent Law (37)
- German Patent ACt (PatG) (1)
- German patent law (5)
- Germany (6)
- Pirate Party (3)
- International Patent Law (4)
- PCT (2)
- IP politics (10)
- licenses (2)
- Litigation (5)
- Patentability (7)
- Patents (12)
- Piratenpartei (2)
- Software inventions (10)
- Uncategorized (9)
- Unitary Patent (24)
- US Patent Law (4)
- kelle on Germany: Copyright Protection More Easily Available For Works Of “Applied Arts”
- Time Limits & Deadlines in Draft UPCA RoP: Counting The Days - KSNH Law - Intangible.Me on Wiki Edition of Agreement on Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA)
- Time Limits & Deadlines in Draft UPCA RoP: Counting The Days | ksnh::law on Wiki Edition of Agreement on Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA)
- Wiki Edition of Agreement on Unified Patent Cou... on Wiki Edition of Agreement on Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA)
- European Commission Takes Next Step Towards Legalising Software Patents in Europe | Techrights on EU Commission publishes Proposal of amendend Brussels I Regulation for ensuring Enforcement of UPC Judgements
- No public Twitter messages.
- Ist Verschlüsselung passé? September 6, 2013Auf verschiedenen Feldern beruflicher Praxis ist dafür zu sorgen, dass Kommunikation vertraulich bleibt. Die trifft beispielsweise für Ärzte zu, aber auch für Anwälte, darunter auch Patentanwälte. Einer der zahlreichen Aspekte, die in diesem Zusammenhang eine Rolle spielen, ist die Technik, um die Vertraulichkeit beruflicher Kommunikation sicherzustellen. Wa […]
- EU-Einheitspatent: Demonstrativer Optimismus und Zahlenmystik allerorten – Naivität oder politische Beeinflussung? June 26, 2013Nach mehreren vergeblichen Anläufen zur Schaffung eines EU-weiten Patentsystems wurde 1973 als Kompromiss das Europäische Patentübereinkommen unterzeichnet, welches unabhängig von der seinerzeit noch EWG genannten Europäischen Union System zur zentralisierten Patenterteilung mit nachgeordnetem Einspruchsverfahren durch das Europäische Patentamt schuf. Wie wi […]
- Moderne Zeiten oder: DPMA und Patentgericht streiten über die elektronische Akte April 25, 2013Bekanntlich hat das Deutsche Patent- und Markenamt (DPMA) im Jahre 2013 mit der rein technischen Fertigstellung der Einrichtungen zur elektronischen Akteneinsicht einen wichtigen Meilenstein seines Überganges von der Papierakte zur “elektronischen Akte” erreicht. Im DPMA werden aber bereits seit dem 01. Juni 2011 Patente, Gebrauchsmuster, Topografien und erg […]
- Gutachten zu Forschung, Innovation und technologischer Leistungsfähigkeit Deutschlands 2013 March 11, 2013Unter dem Datum vom 28. Februar 2013 ist die Bundestags-Drucksache 17/12611 veröffentlicht worden Sie trägt den Titel Unterrichtung durch die Bundesregierung - Gutachten zu Forschung, Innovation und technologischer Leistungsfähigkeit Deutschlands 2013. Die Bundesregierung legt dem Deutschen Bundestag seit dem Jahr 2008 […]
- 3D-Printing: Zum Filesharing von 3D-Modelldaten February 25, 2013In meiner kleinen zuvor angekündigten Reihe über rechtliche Aspekte des 3D Printing komme ich heute auf die Frage zu sprechen, ob die Hersteller von Gerätschaften es hinnehmen müssen, wenn Ersatztreile davon – vom Brillengestell über Smartphone-Gehäuseteile bis hin zu Rastenmähermotor-Abdeckungen – gescannt und die daraus […]
- Ist Verschlüsselung passé? September 6, 2013