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[ [:EplaEn: EPLA]
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Tarabella060908En: EPLA and EPC accession]
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Tarabella060913En: Cost and SMEs question]
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Tarabella060919En: Judicial independence question]
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[http://press.ffii.org/Software_patent_news News]
[ [[EplaEn| EPLA]]
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Tarabella060908En| EPLA and EPC accession]]
| [[
Tarabella060913En| Cost and SMEs question]]
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Tarabella060919En| Judicial independence question]]
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[http://press.ffii.org/Software_patent_news|News]]
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 * [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?SAME_LEVEL=1&LEVEL=3&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y&DETAIL=&PUBREF=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-2006-3582+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN Source]  * [[http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?SAME_LEVEL=1&LEVEL=3&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y&DETAIL=&PUBREF=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-2006-3582+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN|Source]]
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 * [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?L=EN&OBJID=127328&LEVEL=3&SAME_LEVEL=1&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y Original French reply] (MS Word format)  * [[http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?L=EN&OBJID=127328&LEVEL=3&SAME_LEVEL=1&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y|Original French reply]] (MS Word format)
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 * [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?SAME_LEVEL=1&LEVEL=2&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y&DETAIL=&PUBREF=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-2006-3581+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN Source]  * [[http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?SAME_LEVEL=1&LEVEL=2&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y&DETAIL=&PUBREF=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-2006-3581+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN|Source]]
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 * [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?L=FR&OBJID=127079&LEVEL=2&SAME_LEVEL=1&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y Original French reply] (MS Word format)  * [[http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?L=FR&OBJID=127079&LEVEL=2&SAME_LEVEL=1&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y|Original French reply]] (MS Word format)
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 * [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?SAME_LEVEL=1&LEVEL=2&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y&DETAIL=&PUBREF=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-2006-3580+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN Source]  * [[http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?SAME_LEVEL=1&LEVEL=2&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y&DETAIL=&PUBREF=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-2006-3580+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN|Source]]
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 * [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?L=FR&OBJID=127079&LEVEL=2&SAME_LEVEL=1&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y Original French reply] (MS Word format)  * [[http://www.europarl.europa.eu/omk/sipade3?L=FR&OBJID=127079&LEVEL=2&SAME_LEVEL=1&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y|Original French reply]] (MS Word format)

The Commission refuses to comment on EPLA concerns

-> [ EPLA | EPLA and EPC accession | Cost and SMEs question | Judicial independence question | News ]


The European Commission refuses to comment on any proposed solution to resolve crucial problems with the EPLA in its replies to questions by Michel Rocard MEP, both regarding costs and the absence of separation of powers. The Commission also recognises that it has nothing to say about the software patent granting practice of the EPO and on the way the EPLA could equally recognise or invalidate this jurisprudence. In this context it is interesting that the Commission nevertheless seems to unconditionally support the EPLA, even though it has apparently no idea about its consequences.


Question about the cost of patents

  • 31 July 2006 E-3582/06 WRITTEN QUESTION by Michel Rocard (PSE) to the Commission Subject: Cost of patent cases before the European Patent Judiciary set up under the EPLA Page 13 of the European Patent Office's assessment of the impact of the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA), dated February 2006, shows that the minimum costs of a medium-scale patent case brought before the future European Patent Court at first instance are barely lower than the costs if the same case were brought simultaneously in Germany, France and the Netherlands and that the minimum costs of a case at second instance are barely lower than those of simultaneously bringing the same case before a court in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Given that SMES can often afford to bring only one case at a time, and have to rely on the settlement of that case in order to have the funds to bring another if need be, how does the Commission justify this rise in the cost of litigation, both in itself but primarily with regard to the interests of SMEs?

Answer (English unofficial translation)

  • Answer give by Mr. McCreevy in the name of the Commission (15.9.2006) The Commission says the European Community is not part of the EPLA working groups and that therefore it's not within the Commission's competence to analyse the cost structures of the EPLA or their impact on !SMEs. It therefore will not undertake such an analysis. Next, the

    Commission starts talking about it's [http://consultation.ffii.org/ Patent Consultation] and that it will of course inform the Parliament about its results. The project on the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) is based on an initiative of the contracting states to the European Patent Organisation, to which the European Community is not a contracting party, and is being worked out y a workgroup on litigation, without participation of the Community. As the honorable member has mentioned, the European Patent Office (acting as a secretariat for the workgroup on litigation) has performed an impact assessment concerning the EPLA's influence on European patent litigation. It is consequently not up to the Commission to analyse the cost structures under the EPLA, nor to justify the costs calculated by the European Patent Office. Nevertheless, in the context of the consultation on the political future of European patent system, the Commission is currently in the process of examining the issue of the draft European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) and the possibility of moving the project forward in the context of its consultation on the future patent policy in Europe. However, the question of a predictable, quick and cheap resolution of cases between patent holders and others is one of the main concerns of the Commission. Cheaper lawsuits would have a very positive impact on the use of patents by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The consultation was launched on 16 January 2006 and proved to be a huge success, generating over 2 500 answers from interested circles. A public hearing took place on 12 July 2006. The Commission is now in the process of analysing the responses and drawing its conclusions. Naturally, the Parliament will be informed about the Commission's findings and recommendations as soon as they have been finalized.

Question on the separation of powers with the EPLA

  • 31 July 2006 E-3581/06 WRITTEN QUESTION by Michel Rocard (PSE) to the Commission Subject: Separation of powers within the European Patent Judiciary set up under the EPLA (European Patent Litigation Agreement) A Community system for settling patent disputes can only exist if it is fully part of the European legal order and is completely independent of the legislature and the executive, in line with the principle of separation of powers. It follows that judges called on to issue rulings within the European Patent Judiciary may not concurrently hold or have held a post in the various chambers of the European Patent Office or within national offices responsible for issuing patents. What steps has the Commission taken or does it intend to take in this regard?

Answer (English unofficial translation)

  • Answer give by Mr. McCreevy in the name of the Commission (12.9.2006) How to structure the rules for the judges of the European Patent Court is a question which requires a thorough analysis. The Commission is currently not in the position to comment on this subject. In the context of the consultation on the political future of European patent system, the Commission is currently in the process of examining the issue of the draft European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) and the possibility of moving the project forward in the context of its consultation on the future patent policy in Europe. Naturally, the Parliament will be informed about the Commission's findings and recommendations as soon as they have been finalized.

Question on the jurisprudence regarding software patents and the EPLA

  • 31 July 2006 E-3580/06 WRITTEN QUESTION by Michel Rocard (PSE) to the Commission Subject: Case law and innovation policy within the European Patent Judiciary set up under the EPLA (European Patent Litigation Agreement) A series of case-law decisions by the Technical Appeal Board of the European Patent Office has led to the issuing of software patents and patents on business methods (which correspond to USPTO Class 705). Does the Commission agree that the inclusion of software within the parameters of patentability was not a ‘technical’ decision but a substantial change to patent law, which is outside the jurisdiction of any court, and that decisions of this kind need to be dealt with appropriately at a political level, i.e. they must take the form of legislation? What mechanisms does the Commission intend to put in place with regard to the EPLA to ensure that similar excesses do not occur?

Answer (unofficial English translation)

  • Answer give by Mr. McCreevy in the name of the Commission (14.9.2006) The Commission agrees with the honorable member that it is important to guarantee the separation of powers between the legislative bodies and the judiciary. A legislative instrument codifies the juridical situation in a particular domain. A juridical system, such as the one proposed by the EPLA project, interprets the substantive rules regarding the existing patents, but does not change nor codify those rules. In the context of the separation of powers, it takes over the ability of courts to interpret the provisions of the law. The European Community is not a contracting party of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg). Consequently the Commission is not competent to interpret decisions by the technical chambers of the EPOrg. The Commission is currently not in a position to comment on the envisioned structure of the European Patent Court. The Commission is currently in the process of examining the issue of the draft European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) and the possibility of moving the project forward in the context of its consultation on the future patent policy in Europe. Naturally, the Parliament will be informed about the Commission's findings and recommendations as soon as they have been finalized.

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