An EU patent as solid as the Euro?

Member of the European Parliament Eva Lichtenberger has sent an open letter to her colleagues about the European Patent Package.

She notes the patent package is set to be debated and voted in first reading in the December despite the fact that the European Council amended the first reading agreement reached with the Legal Affairs Committee, and no subsequent negotiations have being held to discuss this.

The Legal Affairs Committee refused her request for a written opinion from the EP’s legal service. The European Court of Justice is also currently considering the legality of the enhanced cooperation on the patent package, with a ruling of Advocate General expected on 11 December: the same day as the vote. She writes that it is quite likely that the opinion will conclude that the procedure is not compatible with the Treaty.

She proposes to remove the patent package from the agenda.

With the patent package, the EU “would be delegating competence and powers in this area to the European Patent Office (EPO), an extra-EU institution. The ‘compromise’ imposed by the Council gives the EPO the power to grant of unitary patents without any effective review by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which would be largely excluded from the jurisdiction on EU patents. There would be no possibility to appeal decisions of the new Unified Patent Court before the ECJ. The Unified Patent Court could just ask the ECJ to give preliminary decisions, while leaving the final decision with the Unified Patent Court. Furthermore, the European Parliament would give up its rights and competence to co-legislate changes to the patent regime, as the content of the unitary patent no longer would be decided upon in an EU legal act, but in an international agreement among the Member States.”

The Greens will table amendments.

The EU tends to take half measures. It did so with the Euro, a common currency without a political union. This time the EU is about to give in to the UK, and create an EU patent without the Court or Parliament having any influence. While in Europe small and medium sized enterprises are essential, the EU is about to leave its patent policy to a captive incrowd. May the Parliament wake up in time.

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