The Official Journal of the European Union has published a call for the training of national judges in EC competition law and judicial cooperation between national judges (2007/C 310/08). Details here. Deadline for application: 15 February 2008.
Says the IPKat, this will give someone a golden opportunity to help the judiciary understand that intellectual property rights are not the enemies of competition policy but a means of enabling that policy to come to fruition. Says Merpel, I suppose you're going to say that special attention should be paid to cuddly cartels, the most attractive way for large and wealthy businesses to minimise the risks inherent in any form of innovation by pooling their patents and kindly surrendering their right to exclusivity.
Own up, admit it! You haven't read the Lisbon Treaty yet, have you? Well, here is your very own link to the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon, 13 December 2007, together with all its Protocols and dangly bits. The Lisbon Treaty amends the Treaty establishing the European Community and even some IP-specific bits. First, there's power to create IP rights [but not, the IPKat says, the power to destroy them. That's left for the European Court of Justice to do]:
(84) The following new Article 97a shall be inserted as the final article of Title VI:
In the context of the establishment and functioning of the internal market, the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish measures for the creation of European intellectual property rights to provide uniform protection of intellectual property rights throughout the Union and for the setting up of centralised Union-wide authorisation, coordination and supervision arrangements.
The Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure, shall by means of regulations establish language arrangements for the European intellectual property rights. The Council shall act unanimously after consulting the European Parliament’.
Left: the Conquistadors -- a monument to the point at which the European Union, having finally dealt with the threat to its autonomy posed by Member States, sets its sights on the New World
Then there's a nice little bit about common commercial policy [says the IPKat, this seems to require unanimity when dealing with outsiders (i.e. non-EU nations) even though individual Member States still possess some limited power to fiddle with their own domestic IP regimes]:
(158) An Article 188 C shall be inserted, replacing Article 133:Finally, we get to a bit of routine amendment of terminology:
‘Article 188 C
1. The common commercial policy shall be based on uniform principles, particularly with regard to changes in tariff rates, the conclusion of tariff and trade agreements relating to trade in goods and services, and the commercial aspects of intellectual property, foreign direct investment, the achievement of uniformity in measures of liberalisation, export policy and measures to protect trade such as those to be taken in the event of dumping or subsidies. The common commercial policy shall be conducted in the context of the principles and objectives of the Union's external action.
2. The European Parliament and the Council, acting by means of regulations in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall adopt the measures defining the framework for implementing the common commercial policy.
3. Where agreements with one or more third countries or international organisations need to be negotiated and concluded, Article 188 N shall apply, subject to the special provisions of this Article.
The Commission shall make recommendations to the Council, which shall authorise it to open the necessary negotiations. The Council and the Commission shall be responsible for ensuring that the agreements negotiated are compatible with internal Union policies and rules.
The Commission shall conduct these negotiations in consultation with a special committee appointed by the Council to assist the Commission in this task and within the framework of such directives as the Council may issue to it. The Commission shall report regularly to the special committee and to the European Parliament on the progress of negotiations.
4. For the negotiation and conclusion of the agreements referred to in paragraph 3, the Council shall act by a qualified majority.
For the negotiation and conclusion of agreements in the fields of trade in services and the commercial aspects of intellectual property, as well as foreign direct investment, the Council shall act unanimously where such agreements include provisions for which unanimity is required for the adoption of internal rules.
(213) In Article 229a, the words ‘the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament,’ shall be replaced by ‘the Council, acting unanimously in accordance with a special legislative procedure and after consulting the European Parliament,’ and the words ‘Community industrial property rights’ shall be replaced by ‘European intellectual property rights’.
The last sentence shall be replaced by the following:
Have you ever fancied working for the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market, being one of those little cogs in the big machine that drives the Community trade mark and Community registered design systems? If so, here's your chance. The deadline for applications is 24 January 2008. The IPKat says, good luck!
Right: training to be an examiner ...