Commission says "No comment" about the independence of judges at the EPLA central court
Commission DG Markt has replied to a question of Mr Gierek MEP regarding the independence of judges, where the Commission states that they do not want to comment on this specific issue.
- 26 June 2006 P-2329/06
Answer given by Mr McCreevy on behalf of the Commission Contrary to what the Honourable Member suggests, the European patent litigation agreement (EPLA) proposal as well as the draft statute of the European Patent Court have been prepared by a group of countries party to the European Patent Convention (EPC) without any Community involvement. The EPLA would be an optional agreement to which EPC States could adhere if they so wish. It would apply to the litigation of European patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO). The Commission is aware of the provisions to which the Honourable Member refers but it feels it is not appropriate to comment upon the current draft EPLA proposal as the Commission is not involved in the negotiation process. The Commission is currently carrying out a broad consultation on future patent policy in Europe. The consultation document contains a chapter on the EPLA proposal and the potential Community involvement in its conclusion. Generally speaking, it is imperative to ensure that the legally and technically difficult patent cases are dealt with by experienced and well qualified judges. The Commission believes that the above is a key requirement for the recruitment of patent judges. To that end, the Commission's own proposal of 23 December 2003 for a Council Decision establishing the Community Patent Court(1) states in Article 2(2) of Annex [II] (contained in Article 4 of the proposal) that the candidates must have a high level of legal expertise in patent law. Article 5 of Annex [II] (contained in Article 4 of the proposal) refers to a number of articles in the Statute of the European Court of Justice, inter alia, Article 18, which aims at ensuring the independence of the judges and prohibiting their involvement in cases in which they had previously taken part. (1) COM(2003)828 final.