06 December 2011

A Crazy Day in Brussels Ended with Luxemburg receiving the Court of Appeal of the Unified Patent Court? (Updated)

Luxembourg, future home of the Court of Appeal of the Unified Patent Court?
It has been a crazy day in Brussels and in the IP blogoshere yesterday, beginning - despite of harsh criticism - with hopes of the Polish Presidency to obtain an agreement on the EU Patent Package including the seat of the Unified Patent Court, continuing with expectations, speculations [1], [2] and frustrations due to the fact that the only source of information being common-place press conference repeating the same old known mantras (like the enormous cost reduction the Unitary Patent would bring; opposing view here), accompanied by 'water level reports' and even more speculations in the blogoshere ([1], [2], [3]).

At the end of the day we were left with a press report and a Commissioner's tweet telling us that an agreement was missed by only a small margin and a few more days were needed.   

Now the ksnh::law blog (and others [1], [2]) told us in a posting titled "EU Patent Package: No (Complete) Solution Yet" how it ended in the night, keeping in mind that the question really electrifying the blogosphere was, of course, the seat of the new Court.  

A nighly press release after the first day of the final Council meeting under the Polish Presidency (Chair: Waldemar Pawlak, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Poland) explained:
[...] The debate took place on the basis of a compromise package drawn up by the Presidency. The compromise was broadly accepted in substance, but the debate showed that further work is still needed. The Polish Presidency is committed to take the work forward with a view to reaching agreement on the creation of a unified patent court before end 2011. [...],
while the Presidency disclosed on twitter that only the seat of the Central Division of the Unitary Patent Court needs to be decided, apparently meaning that the seat of the Court of Appeals has already been determined!

Further, EUobserver believed to know that a compromise as to the "seat of the main litigation court for the upcoming EU patent" - apparently Paris - was refused by Britain and Germany. Further:
under the non-contentious parts of the deal, Luxembourg would get the appeals court, Slovenia and Portugal two mediation and arbitration centres and Hungary a training facility,
... leaving us behind waiting and wondering whether or not this EU-specific melange of national interests blocking straightforward solutions (Munich, London or Paris) and endless negotiations giving birth to minimalist compromises might by a reason why international investors increasingly distrust the European Union's capability of solving the continent's dept crisis. Let's hope that Merkel and Sarkozy will prove this presumption wrong at this week's EU summit - and later on also Pawlak and Barnier

UPDATE (07.12.2011): Under the headline "Agreement on substantial issues of single EU patent", the Polish Presidency reports on the issued the EU Council could agreed on 5 December, not forgetting to again stressing that this "may reduce the cost of obtaining the protection of inventions in the EU by as much as 80 percent" (in which statement the "may" is the most interesting part) and coining the sexy term "Warsaw Convention" for the package, maybe to prevent the whole thing being called Warsaw Pakt one day:
[...] Out of the whole patent package the only remaining issue to be decided is the seat of the central division of the Unitary Patent Court UPC (Court of the First Instance).

[...] In [Mr Pawlak's] opinion it is possible to adopt “the Warsaw Convention” – initialing of the negotiated text of the agreement creating the UPC by the representatives of EU member states – already on 22 December 2011 in Warsaw.

  [...] We agreed, amongst others, on the locations of  the Court of Appeal  in Luxembourg and the Patent Mediation and Arbitration Center in Lisbon and Ljubljana, as well as the basic principles of the funding of the UPC [...].
By the way, there already is a 'Warsaw Convention', namely that of 1929 for regulating liability for international carriage of persons, luggage or goods performed by aircraft for reward, as can be learned from Wikipedia. It may thus be more appropriate to refer to this legislation as the "Warsaw Patent Convention".

(Photo 2005 by Jepoirrier, via Flickr under a CC license)