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Thursday, 27 September 2007

EPC2000: this time it's for real

The revised version of the European Patent Convention will enter into force on 13 December 2007 for sure. This will be two years to the day since Greece was the 15th state to ratify EPC2000. Since there is now less than three months to go before this date, and not all signatory states have ratified, the date is now fixed (if the IPKat's calculations are correct).

Time is therefore getting rather short for the remaining countries to ratify, which they must do before 13 December to prevent being automatically ejected from the EPC altogether (Article 172(4)). These countries are, from a check on the EPO website, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden and Turkey.

Given that the consequences for not ratifying are so serious, it is practically unthinkable that any of them would come in late. The IPKat idly wonders what would be the effect if Germany, the de facto “home” of the EPC, failed in their duty. All sorts of cats would be set amongst all sorts of pigeons, he suspects.

Just for a bit of fun, which country do you think will be the last to ratify? Do please cast your vote on the new IPKat sidebar poll, where you can also check when IPKat readers think France will do the right thing and let the London Agreement enter into force (not as soon as the EPO thinks, by the look of it).

12 comments:

L'auteur said...

The French National Assembly voted yesterday the ratification of both EPC 2000 AND London agreement.

For more information

Anonymous said...

It looks like the EPO is somewhat behind the times - the changes have been ratified in Germany, see:

http://www.bgblportal.de/BGBL/bgbl1f/bgbl107s2166.pdf

Sorry

EdT

Axel H Horns said...

David,

please have a look at this:

http://www.ipjur.com/2007/09/epc2000-and-london-agreement-nodded.php3
http://www.ipjur.com/2007/09/ratification-of-epc2000-in-france.php3
http://www.ipjur.com/2007/09/german-patent-act-amended-in-view-of.php3
http://www.ipjur.com/2007/08/germany-completes-ratification-of.php3

Best regards,

Axel H. Horns

David said...

Shame. I was looking forward to seeing the trouble caused by Germany not ratifying. I wonder what is causing the EPO to be so slow? Silly question, I suppose.

David said...

By the way, many thanks Axel and "L'Auteur" for the information. However, I will believe it when I see the official confirmation from the EPO.

Tim Jackson said...

David, here's the actual law which approves German ratification of the EPC 2000, taken from the Bundesgesetzblatt (the German Offical Gazette). (PDF file, 658kB because it includes a copy of the EPC Revision Act itself).

However, it has been suggested to me that while this empowers the German government to ratify, it will not actually do so until the last minute. I'm not sure why.

David said...

Many thanks Tim. I think there may still be some confusion over when the EPC2000 will enter into force, as the words "at the latest" are still widely being used (including by the EPO), regardless of the fact that these ceased to be applicable as from 1 September. Maybe Germany just deliberately wants to be the last one in, depositing their instrument of ratification at 23:59 on 12 December.

Anonymous said...

as far as i am aware of, EPC 200O does not contain major chages at all, i just wonder why they all are making a big fuss about?

David said...

Obviously you haven't actually read it then.

Simon said...

I have some sympathy with Anon. There are major changes, but maybe not as many as people are making out. Still, if the EPC hasn't been changed much in thirty something years, EPC2000 is a major change.

A sitting on the fence Simon

David said...

If you think there are not that many major changes, then I think you are missing one of the most significant things about EPC2000. Article 33 gives the Administrative Council much wider powers to further amend the EPC. In combination with the many parts originally present in the Convention itself (the Articles) being moved into the Regulations, this means that the EPC will in future be able to be amended much more easily without the need for (effectively) a new Treaty. Expect things to change more frequently in future.

Procedurally, there are a huge number of changes, which are going to cause headaches to patent attorneys all over Europe. I presume therefore that the last two commenters will not have to deal with these, let alone have to pass very hard exams on them 3 months after they come into force.

For general lawyer-types, who might need to advise on general aspects of patent law, EPC2000 can pretty much be considered to be the same as the old one. For patent attorneys, however, it's a whole new ball game (and a major pain in the rear).

Anonymous said...

Not sure if anyone's watching this thread any more, but I found this on the Turkish Patent Institute's (great name!) website.

http://www.turkpatent.gov.tr/portal/default_en.jsp?sayfa=161&haber=396

Look like they've agreed to ratify EPC2000 but haven't done so yet, much like Germany.

Gerontius

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