French Unitary Patent bill: the Government is still burying its head in the sand

A bill on Unitary Patent [FR] was discussed at the weekly meeting of the French Council of Ministers, on 23 October 2013.

The minutes are a repeat of the European Commission's official communication on Unitary Patent, emphasizing the cost reduction and the need to unify the market, but overlooking the severe criticism it was subjected to.

The minutes conclude with the suggestion that France should be one of the first countries to sign the agreement... despite Spain challenging the legal validity of the text1, despite the Polish Parliament asking its Government not to sign it2, and despite Great Britain announcing its intention not to sign it as long as some issues, concerning taxes especially, are not resolved3.

Moreover, several law scholars questioned the validity of the text, nearly 500 businesses signed a petition in 2012, asking for the project to be amended, and in September 2013 international corporations such as Google, Microsoft, etc. signed a letter asking for a revision of the Unitary Patent rules, arguing that they might cause the number of patent trolls to explode in Europe. April has been warning against those dangers since 2011: even though the principle of a unitary patent is not problematic per se, its implementation by the current text would, in effect, do away with all the safeguards against software patents in Europe.

This governmental stance is no surprise, given the ostrich-like approach that we witnessed during the 2012 European debates, but April regrets that those numerous threats are not always taken into account. It calls on the Parliament's extreme vigilance about a text which is likely to be presented as purely technical, as was the European project that is transposes.

For additional information on the Unitary Patent, please visit