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Controversial unitary patent court system signed by EU Ministers

27 February, 2013

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Patentgerichtsbarkeit: EU-Minister unterzeichnen umstrittene Vereinbar...

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 corporations.

"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)



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