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On April 13th 2011, the European Commission has proposed a “regulation implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection”, that has now to be voted by the European Parliament and the Council of European Union.

This regulation is the last step in a series of attempts – that have failed for over sixty years – to set up a common patent valid in all Member States of the European Union (EU).

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Watch this video for a complete overview.

Despite the mandatory auto-congratulating communication from the Commission, the proposal is quite disappointing with regard to the major challenge posed: designing a patent system that would fulfil expectations, namely to efficiently foster innovation in Europe.

This site is an April's – French advocacy association devoted to promote and protect Free/Libre Software – initiative to bring an expertise to the European Parliament in order to get over these drawbacks by improving the regulation and to actually build a democratic innovation policy in Europe. It provides raw materials and tools to any citizen who wants to take part in this process.

The European Parliament has voted for the unitary patent regulation on Tuesday December 11, 2012. Nevertheless, the story ain't over. Stay tuned for any news in the following months.

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Unitary Patent: a compromise that excludes the Parliament, the European law and its companies

Paris, the 21st of November 2012. Press Release. – On Monday 12th of November, the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) of the European Parliament held an extraordinary debate about the unitary patent, which was attended by Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner in charge of internal market. According to our sources, he has welcomed with the compromise found in the Council by the Cypriot Presidency. However, and as April highlighted it, this solution infringes the Union Law, and does not provide any democratic safeguard. These questions have been cleared out, even though the Commission is aware about the likely unlawfulness of this project.

UPDATE: We have got audio recordings, with the English translation provided by the linguistic services of the European Parliament

Unitary patent about to being rushed straight into the wall

We have been informed that the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of the European Parliament will hold an extraordinary meeting on Monday, November 19th, 2012 at 19.00 with an exchange of views on the state of play with regards to the unitary patent package. Discussions are likely to focus on a compromise found with the Council about a potential solution to the controversial removal of Articles 6 to 8 from the regulation on the unitary patent. Although the content of such compromise is not publicly disclosed, we have every reason to think that it would still not comply with EU law. Moreover, such harsh and secrecy raises serious doubts about any chance for the coming result to come up to a sound solution.

UPDATE: The text of the compromise has now been published by PCInpact. It confirms our analysis that it is not compliant with Art. 118 TFEU.

The Unitary Patent Package: Twelve Reasons for Concern, Max-Planck Institute

We reproduce here a paper from the Max-Plank Institute1, opening it to comments.

  • 1. The Max-Planck-Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law, which has functioned as a politically and economically unbiased centre of legal competence for European intellectual property legislation ever since its foundation in 1966, is a well-recognized scientific commentator and advisor on the evolution of European patent law.

Motion on the project for a European Patent Court by Law professors and lawyers

The undersigned professors of Law and lawyers consider it necessary to draw attention to the situation of the project for a European court system specifically for patents on inventions.

Disunion and anti-Europeanism of the European Union with the unitary patent

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012, the Committee on European Affairs of the French National Assembly held a hearing with Gérald SÉDRATI-DINET, voluntary advisor for the April on patent issues, in the presence of members rapporteurs on this project, Ms. Audrey LINKENHELD, Socialist MP of the 2nd district of the North, and Mr. Jacques MYARD, Conservative MP of the fifth district of Yvelines.

European Parliament demands that Council stops derailing Unitary Patent

Paris, October 11th, 2012. Press release. – On Thursday, October 11th, 2012, the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee of the European Parliament held an exchange of views regarding the Unitary Patent. Despite a rather short debate, some important issues were discussed by MEPs, who focused on the Council's attempt to reduce the role of the European Parliament in the co-decision process. Everything is still on the table, with a real possibility for MEPs to step up and affirm their role on defining the scope of patentability.

How the thermonuclear patent war would explode in Europe with the unitary patent

For a couple of years, patents have hit the headlines with companies struggling to buy out portfolios of bankrupted competitors, with more and more ridiculous obvious patents granted by patent offices, or with “trials of the century” going on and on. This inflation of concerns around patents has culminated on August 24th, 2012, with Samsung being found liable for infringing some of Apple's mobile patents by a Californian jury. This over one billion dollars fine has given concrete expression to Steve Jobs' testimony, as laid down in his posthumous biography: “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product, I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

This article does not recount such events. Instead, its purpose is to show with a particular Apple's software patent, which was recently successfully enforced before a German court, how such a thermonuclear patent war is threaten to explode in Europe, would the current project about a unitary patent be adopted.

Unitary Patent: discussions postponed in Parliament, let's stay involved!

Despite what was said in July, the issue of the Unitary Patent was not discussed by members of the legal affairs (JURI) Committee of the European Parliament in its September meeting. The next Committee meeting will take place on October 10th and 11th, 2012. Until then, mobilisation needs to continue, especially since new documents just underlined the importance of the improvements wanted by April.

Against software patents, companies demand an improvement of the unitary patent for Europe

Companies from all over Europe got involved to demand the improvement of the proposal for a unitary patent, following the call for action launched by April and by signing the resolution proposed with StopSoftwarePatent.eu and FFII.

Europe: Legal Service of the Parliament questions in an opinion the decision of the European Council on the unitary patent, an AEF news

After the European Parliament has decided, in early July 2012, to postpone its plenary vote on the unitary patent, and hence after that its committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) is about to to reconsider the case, AEF, a specialised French press agency, has realeased three news taking stock of the current situation. Courtesy of AEF, we translate here the third news, which reveals a report by Parliament's legal services. You can also find an deciphering of the legislative process, and an interview of Gerald Sédrati-Dinet, adviser on patents for April, a French advocacy association devoted to promote and protect Free/Libre Software.