WRITTEN QUESTION E-5968/07
by Zuzana Roithová (PPE-DE)
to the Council
Subject: European patent system
An objective of the European Union is to be a competitive knowledge-based economy, yet owing to the lack of harmonisation in the European patent system innovative European firms have to invest far greater sums in protecting their inventions than their American or Asian competitors. The European Patent Organisation and European Patent Office (EPO) are outside the EU structure and adoption of a standard Community patent has been blocked in the Council for years. In 2005 Parliament rejected harmonising rules for so-called software patents, but that did not bring about any change in the interpretation of Article 52 of the European Patent Convention on the part of the EPO. The Commission has not yet published the stakeholder contributions to the 2006 consultation on future patent policy in Europe, which makes it impossible for the academic community to analyse the findings. The Council is now discussing proposals aimed at centralising patent dispute resolution in Europe by establishing specialised patent law courts.
1. Which article of the Treaty would form the legal basis for such a court, Article 225a? Under what conditions will the parties to a dispute be able to appeal to the European Court of Justice? How does the Council intend to ensure that the decisions of such a court are binding even on the independent EPO? Does the Council have an independent analysis of the litigation costs for small and medium-sized enterprises after the creation of the court?
2. What will the selection requirements be, in terms of qualifications, experience and independence, for the judges in such a court?
3. When and how will the European Parliament be asked for its opinion?
4. What essential conditions does the Council consider must be met in order for the EU to be able to accept the standard Community patent?
5. Is the Council making diplomatic efforts with regard to the European Patent Office to ensure that in the interpretation of Article 52 of the European Patent Convention the EPO reflects the position of the EU institutions on so-called software patents expressed in 2005?
6. Is the Council taking the results of the consultation on future patent policy in Europe as the basis for the current debate?
Why is it that only an MP from a small newcomer country to the European club raises this issues?
What are our representatives doing at the EP? I only hope that they're not simply selling us out…