Friday, 5 June 2009

The new European patent order -- a little more progress

Following PatLit's item on the latest European Union developments nearly a month ago, The Guardian has since reported that the Member States have agreed to ask the European Court of Justice to rule on whether "the draft plans to cut the cost of defending patents in a new system of courts would be compatible with EU law". The article continues:
"A one-stop system for filing and defending a patent in the EU has been a goal for decades but was thwarted by disagreement over which languages and court structure to use [These are only some of the issues. Others exist too].
Now EU states have been discussing a draft agreement [here] that would set up a unified patent litigation system with the European Court of Justice having a role.
Vladimir Tosovsky, industry minister for the Czech EU presidency, said the ECJ's opinion was needed before making further progress. "If such an agreement is concluded it would be much more effective to settle disputes in this area", Tosovsky told a news conference after a meeting of EU industry ministers [it's definitely preferable to settle disputes concerning the proposed system in advance and at the Commission's expense rather than in arrears and at litigants' expense -- but why can't we know what questions are being asked?].
In March the EU's executive European Commission formally asked member states for a mandate to set up a court system that would have jurisdiction over existing European patents and a future single EU community patent. This would avoid the need for a company to defend a patent in several national courts, a costly process.
By 2013 a unified court system would save an annual 148 million euros to 289 million euros ($202-394 million), the Commission has said. [The bases for calculations of this nature are inevitably conjectural. A new system may cause more litigation, therefore more spend]
"Once the Court of Justice gives an answer to the question then we will determine the further procedure," Tosovsky said.
If the ECJ gives the green light to details such as how many local and regional courts are needed, how to fund them and which languages should be used would have to be thrashed out"
We await further developments with excitement and trepidation.
For more information see IP:JUR here 

No comments: