Unitary Patent: European Parliament reinstall a democratic procedure. Let's take a part in this!
On July 10th 2012, the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of the European Parliament has discussed about the unitary patent and how to proceed forward with the project. Following the postponement of the vote considered in plenary session, the results of the discussions are a strong criticism of the questionable way, to say the least, used by Member States to impose their modifications, along with the decision to discuss again about an hypothetical regulation on the unitary patent in September. With these last moves, the debate on provisions of the text are reopened. April calls Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to improve the text and citizen to rally in order to guarantee that fundamental rights are respected, that a genuine European Union patent is set up, and that software patents are definitively prohibited1.
The unitary patent issue has indeed be subject to many twists and turns since late June 2012. While the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers had seemed to agree some months ago on the content of a legislative package, the European Council (which is composed by Heads of State and government of EU Member States) has required some substantial changes to the regulation, which would have been totally distorted. This “extremely serious political precedent”, according to the representative of the Commission this morning, has been condemned by the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of the European Parliament, since the European Council has legally no role to play in the European Union legislative process2
Moreover, as it has been pointed out by all speakers this morning in JURI, the removal requested by the European Council would have very likely lead the illegality of the whole project3 In the event that Member States eventually refuse the agreement reached in December by the negotiators of the Parliament, the Council of the EU and the Commission4, this agreement has to be fully rewritten, instead of having some key dispositions removed. This has been pointed out by the rapporteur in JURI Committee, Bernhard Rapkay, recalling that there was an agreed compromise, but that the European Council “has thrown a spanner in the works” of the European Parliament. Therefore, if negotiations have to be restarted, everything would be open again and the text could be amended.
April is available to MEPs and European institutions and offers its expertise to ensure that the project finally adopted will comply with European law, including Human Rights, and will specifically encourage innovation and competition5. As MEPs of the Greens group, Eva Lichtenberger and Christian Engström, have underlined, the current proposal is meaningless and does not allow the creation of a genuine EU patent. If discussions are restarted, this could allow to fix the deficiencies of the text, which have been denounced many times by April6.
But in order for these positions to be heard, it is essential that MEPs are kept informed and awared. We have provided you with some tools for this purpose: a summary of issues raised by the unitary patent, or some questions that MEPs can ask, and amendments to the current proposal for a regulation. Members of JURI Committee are listed on the Political Memory website, maintained by the Quadrature du Net. Please do not hesitate to use these tools and to spread them, and to contact us for any question!
- 1. See the column by Michel Rocard and Daniel Cohn-Bendit in a position paper published in French Mediapart L'Union européenne sous la menace des brevets and translated in European Union under the threat of patents.
- 2. The regulation on the unitary patent is under the codecision procedure between the Council of Ministers (which is also called the Council of the European Union) and the European Parliament. The European Council, which is composed by Heads of State and government, is not supposed to be involved in drafting legislation, but is in charge to provide the Union with “the necessary impetus for its development“, according to Article 15 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU).
- 3. For more information on this issue, see Why the European Council has killed any workable EU patent.
- 4. See Unitary patent: an undone “done deal”.
- 5. See our detailed legal analysis: Legal basis of the unitary patent: do not play with fire!.
- 6. For more informations, please see our dedicated website https://www.unitary-patent.eu/.