At a recent European Commission hearing on Future Patent Policy In Europe, stakeholders’ views on the patent system in Europe were examined. Participants called for more centralization in terms of a single patent system or a common litigation system but there was plenty of dissent.

This was the second step of the public consultation with the aim of collecting stakeholders’ views on the patent system in Europe and seeking views on what measures could be taken in the near future to improve this system. The consultation had focused on three major issues: the Community patent; how the current patent system in Europe could be improved; and possible areas for harmonization.

The following items were brought up in the report:

  • The European Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) community underlined the following issues: costs (where easy access to technical information must be balanced with cost of translation – English only) and licensing of patents (defensive patenting must be prevented).
  • The patent attorney community, while divided by nationality in some respects, was largely united on basic principles. Some FICPI members
  • underlined that the dispute resolution system should be “cost-effective” rather than inexpensive in order not to compromise quality patent searches and rigorous examination.
  • German patent attorneys insisted in their collective institutional reply that there is no reason for a political debate on principles concerning patent protection in view of ethical behavior, protection of the environment, health protection, or freedom of information. According to the Institute, this also holds with regard to software and biotechnology.
  • Industry (big and small), as well as other interest groups, generally support the Community Patent as a way of addressing problems of the patent system.
  • A limited number of stakeholders reject the Community Patent outright and in whatever form, giving preference to the EPLA as a response to patent problems in Europe. The most radical approach was shown by the German Patent Attorneys who dismiss the EU Community Patent as proposed with the common political approach, and ask the Commission to withdraw that proposal.
  • Industry on the other hand agrees that the Community Patent is the right way forward. However, stakeholders unequivocally reject the deal currently on the table – the 2003 Common Political Approach. The rejection is caused by mainly two aspects: an unsatisfactory language regime and inadequate jurisdictional arrangements.
  • There are two extremes in the language regime preferences: those who unequivocally support a single language patent and those who want full translations into all official EU languages immediately upon grant.
  • Both industry and patent attorneys seem to favor the Community’s involvement in the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA). This preference flows from the general opinion that the existing patent system based on the EPO and the EPC works well and outstanding problems relate to the lack of unitary jurisdiction.
  • There is very little support for harmonization. Stakeholders are of the opinion that the patentability criteria are de facto harmonized by a number of international instruments, the most important of them being the European Patent Convention (EPC) .

See the Report here. More here.

  Print This Post Print This Post  

Comments are closed.