EU unitary patent and Unified Patent Court
- For ESP's page on this, see: http://endsoftwarepatents.org/unitary-patent
The European Union patent with unitary effect and the Unified Patent Court are two parts of an EU proposal which takes competence for patent cases away from the national courts and transfers it to a new pro-patent court with no independent appeal system for its rulings. One expected outcome is that software patents may become enforceable throughout the European Union. The stated aim is to unify Europe's patent systems.
The proposal also involves creating a single patent which would be valid in many EU member states, without translation. This proposal took over from the Community Patent since the Lisbon Treaty and is often called the EU patent or the unitary patent.
Background: Community Patent (2000-2010)
The Community Patent was proposed by the European Commission in 2000 as "Rule of the Council" document number 2000/0177 (CNS), COM(2000)412 FR final.
On October 30th 2009, a new proposal was published: Axel Horns' overview.
Amendments to fix this
This proposal aims to make patent acquisition and litigation more efficient and more profitable for patent holders. With this goal, the software patent problems can't be fixed by minor improvements. To save software, we need amendments to exclude software from patentability or to shield software from patent litigation.
The amendments proposed by unitary-patent.eu apply both solutions: an exclusion in amendments 5 and 6, and a shield in amendment 8.
Relation to the ECJ
According to European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, May 18th 2006, the Community Patent would give the EU Court of Justice authority in interpreting the EPC:
an important feature of the proposed Community patent system is the accession of the Community to the EPC. By this, the convention becomes part of the Community acquis and subject to interpretation by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The ECJ is not bound by the case law developed by the EPO and is free in its interpretation of the provisions of the EPC
Consequence: a court of pro-software-patent judges
By creating a court with patent lawyers as judges, this proposal will lead to a set of rulings in favour of expanding patent law (giving a "maximal" interpretation of the law). This is how software patents came into existence in the USA via the creation of the CAFC in 1982.
Even if the European Court of Justice would have jurisdiction to review the new court's rulings, we might see the principle of settled expectations causing the European Court of Justice to follow the new court.
Related pages on en.swpat.org
- Unified European patent jurisdiction overview
- United Patent Litigation System
- European Patent Litigation Agreement
EU documents, newest first
- Proposed regulation 2011/0093 (COD): "implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection", 13 Apr 2011
- Council working document (Unified Patent Court), 26 Oct 2011
- Proposal for a Council Regulation on the Community patent - Revised text - October 2009
- Towards an Enhanced Partnership between Patent Offices under the Community Patent - European Standard for Searches, July 2009
- http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/09/st13/st13317.en09.pdf (haven't read it yet)
- Wiki page on the Unitary Patent, April
- A presentation about the unitary patent (video), unitary-patent.eu
- European Union Patent, Wikipedia
Article selection, newest first
- A new highest patent court for Europe? Not as long as the Court of Justice of the EU is here, 23 Aug 2012, Dimopoulos and Vantsiouri (on Patently-O)
- The Proposed Unified Patent Court for Europe: conditio sine qua non for a Unitary Patent or unavailing venture into the unknown?, 15 Aug 2012, William Bull (on Patently-O)
- Axel Horns' 2009 overview, 2009, IPJur
- Beware: Europe's 'unitary patent' could mean unlimited software patents, 22 Aug 2011, Richard Stallman
- EuroLinux Position on the Community Patent (archive.org copy), 2001
- Analysis of the Community patent, by EuroLinux (archive.org copy), 2000
- "Brussels event about patents". http://www.premiercercle.com/sites/ip2010/overview.php. "The Community Patent, now renamed EU Patent, has made too little progress"
This wiki is part of the End Software Patents (ESP) campaign (donate). For more information, see: