Unitary Patent: crazy schedule ahead, MEPs asked to take a step back and think it through

The plenary regarding the unitary patent is looming, with the deadline for amendements tabled in less than 24 hours, on Wednesday, Dec 5th 2012 at noon.

As Eva Lichtenberger (Greens/EFA) recently sent a letter to her fellow MEPs, asking them to take to time to actually discuss the patent package before pushing it forwards, April compiled the agenda for the next steps on the dossier, in order to emphasize the need for postponement of the vote and for a real debate on the current patent package.

All in all, arguments for a postponement are twofolds: the calendar is too short for any kind of in-depth debate, and there are major issues that needs to be debated in order to ensure that the unitary patent respects democratic checks and balances, the power of the Parliament, and our freedoms, including the right to code and use free software.

The agenda for the next few days:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 5th: deadline for amendments on the package
  • Thursday, Dec 6th: Conference of Presidents, who will decide on the agenda for the plenary
  • Monday, Dec 10th (afternoon): discussion and vote by the Competitiveness Council on the Patent Package
  • Tuesday, Dec 11th: expected opinion of the Avocate General on the legality of the enhanced cooperation
  • Tuesday, Dec 11th (morning): debate in Plenary about the package
  • Tuesday, Dec 11th (morning): vote in Plenary on the patent package

Despite what was promised by Rapporteurs Rapkay and Lehne, who were in charge of the package in the legal affairs (JURI) Committee, it is simply not possible for the European Parliament to fully examine the package: there is simply not enough time for Members of the European Parliament to actually read the text in detail before voting it!

April hence asks the European Parliament to postpone the vote, so that MEPs have a reasonable chance of getting informed on the patent package.

Major issues ahead

The text of the regulation has been pushed by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the patent department of BusinessEurope, and agreed by the Council of Ministers of the EU, the European Commission – whose main responsible has now become director at the EPO – and German rapporteurs of the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of the European Parliament.

Many warnings were given about the fact that the unitary patent does not comply with EU law. Moreover, everything is made for the EU to have no grasp on the unitary patent, as the European Parliament will be deprived of any powers to define a fair and efficient patent policy, for instance by imposing an exception to the rights conferred by a unitary patent with regards to acts related to the use or the development of software. Similarly, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will have no competence to balance patent right with other areas of law in accordance with the principle of proportionality; CJEU will have no control over patent law,except on biotechnological inventions which have been regulated by the EU many years ago.

How to act

It is urgent to contact MEPs to inform them of the threats the unitary patent is posing us, and to emphasize that the European Parlement need to ge tthe power back. In order to do so, you can still call MEPs free of charge via our phoning tool. On that page, you will also find all the resources you need to explain and convince them of the threat posed by the current version of the unitary patent. Companies can also sign the resolution submitted by April.