Controversial unitary patent court system signed by EU Ministers

By EDRi · February 27, 2013

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Deutsch: [Patentgerichtsbarkeit: EU-Minister unterzeichnen umstrittene Vereinbarung |]

After in December 2012 the European Parliament approved the proposal for
a flawed unified patent court system that will put innovation at risk,
on 19 February 2013, the Ministers from 24 EU member States backed the
proposal by signing the agreement.

If officially ratified by at least 13 national parliaments (which must
include the UK, France and Germany), the system will be used for
resolving disputes on the validity and infringement of new unitary
patents. In this context, a new central division of the unified patent
court will be located in London and two other central divisional courts
will be based in Paris and Munich.

In the opinion of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure
(FFII) this system will diminish the role of the legislator and will
only be used as duel ground for confrontations between larger industrial

“The Unitary Patent dossiers are driven by a very active patent
microcosm and its vested interests. I call on Commissioner Barnier to
first harmonise patent legislation in the single market. We need legal
certainty what is patentable or not. Cryptocracy is no alternative to a
democratic process in these substantive matters,” said FFII vice
president Rene Mages.

Spain and Poland were the only countries which refused to sign the
agreement while Bulgaria is expected to sign in the near future.

“All the necessary decisions (designation of committees, budget,
appointment of judges and president, recruitment of staff, facilities
etc.) should be adopted in a timely manner so as to enable the first
registration of a European patent title with unitary effect in spring
2014,” the Council said.

However, in FFII’s opinion the launch in 2014 is unlikely for legal
reasons, one of them being a reform of the Brussels I package (EC
44/2001) and another, the pace of a formal ratification process.

Ministers signed Unitary Patent Court agreement (20.02.2013)

Unified patent court agreement signed by most EU countries (20.02.2013)

Patent court agreement signed (19.02.2013)

EDRi-gram: Innovation at risk in EU – the EU unitary patent adopted by
EP (19.12.2012)