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Thursday, 15 February 2007

Dog in the EC manger


Out-law reports that the Legal Service of the European Parliament has taken the view that the proposed European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) is not compatible with European law, quoting conflicts with Articles 10 and 292 of the EC Treaty, Directive 2004/48 and the Brussels Regulation, along with various rulings from the ECJ. The main conclusions of the report are:

"compliance with Article 98 of EPLA would prima facie constitute a breach of Article 292 EC Treaty"; and

"the Community's competence is exclusive for the matters governed by EPLA and Member States therefore are not entitled on their own to conclude that Agreement".

The IPKat fails to see exactly how the EPLA treads on EC law on patents (limited as it is) sufficiently to be incompatible with it, and suspects that the Legal Service is just giving the Parliament the answer it wants to hear, i.e. that if anyone should be able to do something about European patent law it should be them, even if that is to do nothing but sit in the manger so nobody else can. He also wonders how so many other highly qualified people, including many judges, could have thought the EPLA was a good idea if it was contrary to EC law. Perhaps, Merpel suggests, the Legal Service have been knobbled by the FFII's nonsensical conspiracy theory-based arguments about the "global patent industry" (see here for more details), along with the Parliament.

Whether this means the death of the EPLA remains to be seen, but it now looks like the European Parliament will be given a boost to side against European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, who has come out in favour of it (see here).

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

See this week's Wirtschaftswoche magazine for a brief report of a statement by Germany's Justice Minister, urging progress on EU patent matters during Germany's EU presidency. The magazine reports that progress is blocked by French intransigency on use of English. Raises the eyebrows a fraction, to see German Govt criticism of the other half of the core EU "motor". Will the statement achieve anything useful? Doubt it.

David said...

Thanks, Anonymous. You may note that Merpel made a comment on a previous post to this effect. It does seem the French are always the ones to raise issues about translations that end up putting a stop to these efforts.

Anonymous said...

Will the statement achieve anything useful?

Maybe might slow the patentists down a bit. At this stage, anything that puts a spanner into the works of the patentist scum has to be a good thing.

NO MORE PATENTS! KNOWLEDGE IS POWER? POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

David said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for you very incisive comment. Now go back to your bedroom Wolfie.

Anonymous said...

To rephrase the question of WolfieWhoGoesToBed more clearly:

"Maybe David can clarify what will be the role of the European Parliament once the Council will have signed the EPLA?"

David said...

I have difficulty in seeing what role the Parliament has at the moment in any case, but it has no role at all in the process of granting European patents, and would have no role in governing the implementation of the EPLA. The EPLA is not a European Union initiative, but is a proposal for European states to sign up to, in the same way the European Patent Convention was set up separately from the (then) EEC.

plh said...

"...the FFII's nonsensical conspiracy theory-based arguments about the "global patent industry"..."

I believe the economist's term for this sort of conspiracy theory is "regulatory capture" theory and I don't see anything nonsensical about it.

David said...

That kind of proves my point. Once you accept the idea of a conspiracy theory, you will believe anything, even the crackpot ideas economists come out with.

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