The European Parliament stubbornly pushes forward the enhanced cooperation on unitary patent
On Tuesday, February 15th, 2011, the European Parliament voted in favour of an enhanced cooperation on the unitary patent. April regrets a hasty decision-making process, taking place while the real issues have not been dealt with during the debates.
Despite the fact that the decision from the European Court of Justice will be published in the next few days1the European Parliament showed a unusual haste in its voting process. April, who called for the MEPs to wait to get all information regarding the issue before voting, regrets that the vote took place without dealing with the core problems of the topic.
The issue of the unified jurisdiction, albeit vital for the setting up of an unitary patent system, was not even mentioned during the debates. The latter focused exclusively on the issue of the linguistic regime of the unitary patent, in order to limit opposition from Italy and Spain, the only two countries who did not finally request to join the enhanced cooperation.2
At the end of the day, it is with a large majority3 that the European Parliament approved the enhanced cooperation procedure, granting the pressing demands from the Council4. The regulation implementing the enhanced cooperation is now a matter for a codecision process between the Parliament and the Council, which would be finalised by this summer.
In any case, the setting up of the unitary patent will have to deal with all the issues raised by the ECJ. The European Union will then have a chance to make its voice heard within the European Patent Office, and to limits its drifts5, specially regarding its case-law about software patents, which are against the letter and the spirit of European Law.
For further information:
* Introduction on European Parliament's works concerning an enhanced cooperation on unitary patent: http://www.april.org/en/introduction-european-parliaments-works-concerni....
* Rationale to postpone enhanced cooperation on unitary patent after ECJ opinion: http://www.april.org/en/rationale-postpone-enhanced-cooperation-unitary-...
- 1. The opinion will be given on March, 8th 2011.
- 2. The representative of the Hungarian Presidency of the European Council spoke to to the Italian and Spanish MEPs in their native languages.
- 3. 471 votes in favour, 160 against and 42 abstentions.
- 4. The day before the vote, the Council sent a letter to the president of the European Parliament (fr) urging the latter to "give its approval as soon as possible".
- 5. Opinion of EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal about software patents (fr).