For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Mini Unitary Patent Update: European Parliament vote , Rules of Procedure & Legal Services Opinion Request (UPDATED)

A picture of what the AmeriKat would
like to be doing right now
ideally with some gelato in tow
(or is that "ice cream"?)
The sun is shining down in London, the people are smiling and all seems well in the world, except, that is, for the threatening unitary patent storm clouds growing over Brussels.  "Oh how dramatic, AmeriKat!", you say, "There is no need to ruin our second sunny day all year with your Doomsday predictions of the unitary patent package.".  Oh, but she must.  She does, however, promise to make it quick.  In fact she only has three points to share with you:
1.  European Parliament vote:  With the upcoming meeting of the Competitiveness Council meeting this Wednesday, the AmeriKat was alerted to the European Parliament's tabling of the plenary sitting date and first reading of the unitary patent package first scheduled for 11 June 2012, but now scheduled for 13 June with the vote on 14 June 2012.  Can this be construed as a confident Statement of Intent to get the patent package approved come what may or as a cautiously optimistic "pencilling-in"?

2.  Rules of Procedure news:  Following the first circulation of the Rules of Procedure to stakeholders in April, Rules of Procedure Committee Chair, Kevin Mooney (Simmons & Simmons) tells the AmeriKat that they are now on the 8th draft of the Rules to which they have received 31 detailed responses.  The ninth draft will go to the Commission/Danish Presidency today so that it is available for the Competitiveness Council meeting on Wednesday.  After the meeting, the draft should be more widely distributed, but as of yet there is no news on a public consultation.  "We are waiting", says the AmeriKat, tapping her paws impatiently.

3.  Update on request for unredacted version of Legal Services Opinion:  On Sunday (or Monday, depending how late you were up), the AmeriKat reported on the confirmatory application request she stumbled upon for access to the unredacted version of the Opinion of the Legal Service (document here) on the compatibility of the draft agreement with the CJEU's Opinion 1/09.  Two of her lovely readers responded, including the anonymous requstor, who alerted her to the Council's response to the application (found here) who refused to provide access to the unredacted document.  However

"Denmark, Estonia, Slovenia, Finland and Sweden cannot concur with the reasoning in the draft reply, which seems contradictory in first arguing that the negotiations are entirely outside the Council’s decision-making structures but that there still is a need to protect the Council’s decision making process (because the draft Agreement and the two draft Regulations form a “package").

As regards the contents of the opinion, it would seem that even if a possible harm to decision making  or to the protection of legal advice could be demonstrated, there would be an overriding public interest in handing out the information, or at least more significant parts of it in line with Article 4(6) of Regulation 1049/2001."
 
Too right! The AmeriKat understands the UK government also did not support the Council's reply. Stay tuned for a Katty post on European legislative transparency coming to your computer screen and e-mail inbox very soon.  
Now, with that done, please go enjoy the sunshine!

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