Patent reform: democracy in meltdown
Richard Evans (IPWorldOnline) has tipped the IPKat off about the latest round of discussions concerning the proposed European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA). The UK's Chartered Institute for Patent Attorneys (CIPA) has now added its voice. In his speech to the European Parliament last week (noted briefly here by the IPKat), Charles McCreevy urged MEPs to back the EPLA, saying it would bring about a “better, cheaper, more reliable patent system”. Some MEPs have since tabled a motion to scrap the idea, because they think it will be too expensive and undemocratic. Respected UK Patent Attorney Vicki Salmon, on behalf of CIPA, immediately responded:
"Once again we see MEPs who lack a clear understanding of the patent system rushing to stop what could be a sensible step forward. ... "The EPLA would enable a single European Patent Court to be created, concerning which Vicki said:
"We in the Institute are in favour of such a move provided, of course, the details are practical and do not result in an arrangement that is too expensive".Although he is a firm believer in democracy, the IPKat sometimes despairs of its ability to address detailed issues such as patent law. If even Members of the European Parliament can't grasp the issues clearly, what hope is there that the vast electorate of the European Union will be sufficiently well-informed to give them a mandate for change? Merpel adds, the MEPs shouldn't be allowed to interfere with the delicate mechanisms of patent law if they can't even decide to ditch either Strasbourg or Brussels and make do with just one legislative base.