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<html newsdate="2012-09-07">
<version>1</version>
<head>
<title>Unitary patent threatens innovation in Europe</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>Unitary patent threatens innovation in Europe</h1>
<p>
Will lawsuits like Apple vs Samsung soon take place in Europe? The
European Parliament is about to set the future course for Europe's
patent system. On September 17th and 18th, the European Parliament's
Legal Affairs committee will discuss a proposal for a EU-wide patent.
From now until September 18th, FSFE will continuously provide
updates and analysis on the unitary patent on our <a href="/">website</a>.
</p>
<p>
This proposal has faced massive criticism from different sides. In its
current form, it will mean:
<ul>
<li>giving up political control over Europe's innovation policy</li>
<li>endangering due process for those involved in patent
litigation</li>
<li>cementing the EPO's dangerous practice of awarding patents on
software</li>
</ul>
</p>
<p>
The European Court of Justice warned in March 2011 that the previous patent
proposal was <a
href="http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2011-03/cp110017en.pdf">incompatible
with EU laws</a> (pdf).
</p>
<p>
In December 2011, the European Council agreed to change the proposal. It was a
change for the worse: By removing three key articles, the Council greatly
reduced the role of the European Court of Justice in the future unitary patent
system. The rapporteur for the Parliament's Legal Affairs committee, Bernhard Rapkay,
<a href="http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+IM-PRESS+20120709IPR48484+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN">
warned</a> that this sudden modification was likely to breach EU law. [Paragraph
updated to reflect comments made by rapporteur of Legal Affairs Committee.]
</p>
<p>
In order to preserve and enhance Europe's capacity for innovation,
FSFE demands that:
<ul>
<li><em>Political control over the patent system:</em>
Europe's patent system must be placed under the Parliament's
supervision. The patent system is an important tool of
innovation policy. The European Parliament must not delegate
its responsibilities to an organisation that is entirely
outside the EU's control.</li>
<li><em>Due process:</em> The patent system has to guarantee due process
for all, with proper checks and balances. Rather than being left
at the mercy of an unsupervised special patent court, those
involved in patent litigation must have recourse to national
courts and ultimately to the European Court of Justice.</li>
<li><em>No patents on software:</em> Parliament needs to
effectively ensure that computer programs are excluded from
patentability. MEPs must make it clear that a computer program
cannot be patented just because it runs on generic data processing
hardware.</li>
</ul>
</p>
<p>
<strong>Update:</strong> The Legal Affairs committee decided to postpone the discussion on the
unitary patent proposal. It will most likely take place later in the fall
of 2012. FSFE will continue to provide updates and analysis as further
information becomes available.
</p>
<p>
-> <a href="/activities/swpat/current/unitary-patent.html">
Find out more about the unitary patent</a>
</p>
</body>
<tags>
<tag key="front-page"/>
<tag key="european-union"/>
<tag key="swpat">Software Patents</tag>
<tag key="policy"/>
</tags>
</html>