The Commission has no idea about court case costs under the EPLA
The Commission answers Marc Tarabella MEP that it has no idea about the cost structures of EPLA-litigation or their impact on !SMEs/, and that they won't try to find that out either beyond what comes from their earlier held Patent Consultation./
- WRITTEN QUESTION E-3526/06 by Marc Tarabella (PSE) to the Commission The European Patent Office (EPO) has emphasised that defending a suit would cost two to three times as much as doing so within a single Member State.
- Can the Commission provide an analysis of the structure of the costs of a typical suit under the future judicial system set up as part of the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA)?
- Does the Commission have an impact study into how small and medium-sized businesses would proceed (e.g. out-of-court settlement with the patent holder etc.) in the event that the costs of a suit were doubled or even trebled?
Answer (unofficial English translation)
Answer give by Mr. McCreevy in the name of the Commission (15.9.2006) With its question, the honorable member is interested to learn about the foreseen litigation costs under the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA - currently in preparatory status) and their impact on small and medium-sized enterprises. 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. 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. 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
- 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.
Original French Answer (MS Word document)