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.

The Unitary Patent was finally back in Committee after last summer's events1, where the Heads of State and Government tried to delete the very legal basis for the unitary patent, hence making it illegal in regards with the Treaties2. The European Parliament vehemently opposed this demand back in July, and sent the regulation back to the JURI Committee.

Today, however, the European Parliament did not back down on crucial issues, such as the legal certainty and the importance of making the regulation legally sound. More important still, it emphasized the Council's responsibility in trying to undermine the Parliament sovereignety on defining what is patentable and what it not. It is also interesting to note that a consensus seems to have been found on that particular topic: S&D, EPP, ALDE, and Greens/ALE speakers all highlighted how unacceptable the demands to give up on patentability and legal certainties were.

"We are finally starting to adress the real issues here", explains Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, April's specialist on patent issues. "The European Parliament remains committed to a Unitary Patent, but on the express condition that the legal basis of the regulation is sound and that democratic checks and balances are put into place."

Now is the time to act and to ask MEPs to stop illegal software patents in Europe, once and for all.

"Even though the Unitary Patent do not explicitely address software patents, it seems that some actors are hell-bent on giving up all control on what is patentable, creating a US-like situation where everything under the sun might become patentable", concludes Lionel Allorge, April's president. "In order to foster innovation in Europe and protect the freedom to code, the European Parliament needs to keep fighting to reinstore democratic overview on patentability."

About April

Pioneer of free software in France, April is since 1996 a major player in the democratisation and the spread of Free Software and open standards to the general public, professionals and institutions in the French-speaking world. In the digital era that is ours, it also aims to inform the public on the dangers of an exclusive appropriation ofinformation an knowledge by private interests.

The association has over 5,000 members, using or producing Free Software.

For more information, you may go to the following website:, contact us by phone at +33 178 769 280 or through our contact form.

Press contacts:

Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director, +33 660 688 931
Jeanne Tadeusz, Public Affairs Officer, +33 1 78 76 92 82
Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, Advisor on Patents, +33 6 60 56 36 45

  • 1. See our press release: “The European Parliament avoids disaster, but the unitary patent is not saved yet”.
  • 2. See the opinion of the Legal Service of the European Parliament on the matter