- Enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection, JURI/7/05848, Rapporteur: Bernhard Radkay (S&D).
- Enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection with regard to the applicable translation arrangements, JURI/7/05847, Rapporteur: Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).
- Jurisdictional system for patent disputes, JURI/7/06168, Rapporteur: Klaus-Heiner Lehne (PPE).
Fitting into the parliamentary tradition of issuing celebrating press releases when it comes to the future EU patent system, like
yesterday’s post-vote press statement was titled
- EU patent gets Legal Affairs Committee green light (20 Dec 2011),
disclosing, besides the well-known mantras as to the beneficial effects of the new European patent system, the liberating message that
Legal Affairs Committee MEPs backed a political deal struck last 1 December between Parliament and Council negotiators on the so-called “EU patent package” [...]. If Parliament as a whole and the Council confirm the deal, a new EU patent will be created.
FICPI is one of the large international federations of IP attorneys. In its capacity as a professional representation especially of European Patent Attorneys and national Patent Attorneys in EPC/EU states in private practice, this “Position Paper on the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court” has been prepared and submitted in support of profession’s and their client’s interests. The document carries the date of 3 December 2011 and has been submitted on 4 December (Sunday), i.e. one day before the decisive EU Council meeting on 5/6 Decmber (result see here) but, apparently, after the not less decisive meetings of the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) of the EU Parliament in preparation of the Council meeting, so that the paper’s impact on the political process is probably limited.
The position paper does not appear to be available via the FICPI website yet, but has been referred to in this tweet on @FICPI, demanding to “‘Go Slowly’ on Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court” (see related press release).
Monday’s Competitive Council meeting under the Polish Presidency (Chair: Waldemar Pawlak, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Poland) was intended to finalise the EU Patent Package (i.e. a EU regulation covering the Unitary Patent and the its language regime and an international agreement on the Unified Patent Court). Right after the meeting it appead that, based on a compromise proposal by the Presidency, this aim was missed only by a faily small margin since, as was explained in a nightly press release
[...] The debate took place on the basis of a compromise package drawn up by the Presidency. The compromise was broadly accepted in substance, but the debate showed that further work is still needed. The Polish Presidency is committed to take the work forward with a view to reaching agreement on the creation of a unified patent court before end 2011. [...],
combined with a Presidency tweet according to which “only the seat of the Central Division of the Unitary Patent Court needs to be decided“, apparently meaning that all other issues have been fixed. And in fact, a supplementary press release of the Polish Presidency titled “Agreement on substantial issues of single EU patent” clearly confirmed that
Out of the whole patent package the only remaining issue to be decided is the seat of the central division of the Unitary Patent Court UPC (Court of the First Instance).
As reported earlier on this blog (see here), the EU Commission is giving high priority to implementing the Unitary Patent and related Unified Patent Court System, in fact, “the objective is to reach agreement on a new patent system by the end of the year” (see MEMO/11/643).
In one of our latest articles, we reported that European executive authorities are now, as the end of the year approaches, “rushing to set up the EU Unified Patent Court“. (see Document 17317/11). But also the legislative authorities in charge – the European Parliament and its Legal Affairs Committee “JURI” – are heavily involved, as has been reported on this blog either (see here or here).
However, as the Executive (i.e. the European Commission and Council) can only suggest a new or amended piece of law, a parliamentary process that may be required to put the law in force might be longish and troublesome - especially if a self-confident Parliament has to decide on a controversial and rarely used legal institution as enhanced cooperation in case of the implementation of the Unitary Patent. As the Unified Patent Court system will be implemented by international agreement between 25 EU member states (EU27 except Spain and Italy), the EU Parliament will not have to adopt a formal position on that issue. Nevertheless, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, Rapporteur of the JURI Committee came up with a Draft Report on a jurisdictional system for patent disputes (2011/2176 (INI)), as reported here.
To ensure that broad discussions and public comments would not endanger the ambitious time schedule for reaching an agreement, the three Rapporteurs of the the JURI Committee – Bernhard Rapkay (S&D, Germany), Raffaele Baldassarre (EPP, Italy), Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, Germany) – have been equipped on 22 November 2011 with a mandate (see agenda, nos. 33, 34, 35) to negotiate the agreement on the Unitary Patent and the related Language Regime with the European Council in back rooms behind closed doors. (see e.g. press release as well as press reports  and ).
It has become increasingly difficult to kept a clear view on what exactly is discussed in the ongoing discourse on the various proposals and drafts for a European Patent with unitary effect (i.e. the Unitary Patent) and a Unified Patent Court.
In order to retain a clear overview on the essential legal and political concepts of those two drafts, I extracted and sketched their main features based on the “Proposal for a Regulation [...] implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of unitary patent protection” dated 23 June 2011 (Document 11328/11) and the “Draft Agreement on a Unified Patent Court and draft Statute” dated 19 October 2011 (Document 15539/11). Please enjoy.
Yesterday the EPO News channel reported on a “renewed commitment to cost-efficient European patents” by the EPO and the European Commission. As nobody really had the slightest doubts on the continued and strong support by the project’s two main driving forces, this “news” does not sound that confident and persuasive as it apparenty was intended.
I cannot help, but to me it sounds more like political PR language or even autosuggestion if the President of the EPO, Benoît Battistelli, and the European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, jointly confess that “the unitary patent is [...] expected to simplify procedures and lower the costs for applicants by up to 70%“.
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.
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- 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
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