The IPKat can almost smell the whiff of Gauloises and garlic as the French legislators debate the issue. Merpel wonders, once EPC 2000 and the London Agreement are up and running, for how long will critics of the slow and expensive European patent system be silenced?
"On Wednesday, 26 September 2007, France's National Assembly met in extraordinary parliamentary session to debate two pieces of legislation relating to European patent law:
* draft law No. 64 authorising ratification of the European Patent Convention as revised in November 2000 (EPC 2000)
* draft law No. 151 authorising ratification of the October 2000 London Agreement.
Right: during a break, French legislators search the text of EPC2000 for the vital amendment relating to the patentability of new species of escargots
The former went through without discussion, whereas the latter was debated until late in the evening, with advocates and opponents of the London Agreement having their say before the draft law was finally put to the vote and adopted by the Assembly. The two draft laws now go to the Senate, which will discuss them on 9 October 2007.
If the Senate approves them, and once the instruments of ratification have been deposited, both the EPC 2000 and the London Agreement will enter into force for France over the next few months: the EPC 2000 on 13 December 2007, the London Agreement possibly in early 2008.
Above left: Merpel's cautious estimate of how much the real savings from EPC2000 and the London Agreement might turn out to be
The aim of both texts is to improve the European patent system established in the 1970s. The EPC 2000 modernises the European patent grant procedure for which the European Patent Office is responsible, whilst the London Agreement gives easier access to European patents – especially for small and medium-sized firms – by reducing translation costs for granted European patents".
Another friend of the IPKat, Simon Haslam (Abel & Imray), has dug up this item from the BBC. Two Californian computer engineers with Netlogics Microsystems have been charged with conspiring to steal microchip designs to sell to the Chinese military. They are Lee Lan (a US citizen) and Chinese national Ge Yuefei. Having formed a company to develop chips based on the stolen designs, the pair allegedly contacted the Chinese army and offered to sell them the chips. Further charges relate to design theft from the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation, Silicon Valley.
The IPKat is vaguely comforted that there are still some secrets that the Chinese don't already have, and that there are still some high-tech products that are not yet manufactured in China.