28 December 2011

Commissioner Barnier Considers Seat of Central Division and Office Fees Main ObstacIes to Agreement on EU Patent Package

Michel Barnier getting increasingly impatient with EU Patent system
In an article dated December 26, 2011 (see tweet), french daily Le Figaro reports on the increasing impatience of Michel Barnier, EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, with the (lack of) progress in the stalled EU Patent project (covering the Unitary Patent and a related Unified Patent Court) and gives some insight into the state of the negotiations.
 
For those of us who prefer English over French, this is what the article essentially says, besides the usual hymns on the promised cost reductions:
"I appeal to Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron to reach an agreement as to the seat of the [Central Division of the] European Patent Court" he added. In case of dispute proprietors of a European Patent can take legal action before this Court. Three cities are in the running to host it: Munich, London and Paris, whereas Luxembourg may also be interested.

Another issue to be resolved is the amount of the Office fees that applicants will have to pay [for a Unitary patent] and how [50% of] this fees are to be distributed among the Member States [...]. Denmark which assumes the EU Council Presidency as of January 1, 2012 is determined to do everything possible to find an agreement. This issue should be approached in late February at the next Competitiveness Council meeting. [...].

23 December 2011

Initialling Ceremony for Unified Patent Court Omitted, Danish Presidency will take Over

In a posting on ksnh::law titled "EU Patent Package: JURI has Spoken, But What did it Say?" we report on what - presumably - has happened in the JURI meeting on December 20, in which the EU Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee voted on the three separate resolutions/agreements of the so called 'EU Patent Package', i.e.

  • Enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection (JURI/7/05848).
  • Enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection with regard to the applicable translation arrangements (JURI/7/05847).
  • Jurisdictional system for patent disputes (JURI/7/06168).
As this press release later reported that JURI "backed a political deal struck last 1 December between Parliament and Council negotiators on the so-called 'EU patent package', questions were asked by observers, as to what Regulation and Draft Agreement JURI actually voted on, since the Competitive Council meeting on December 5 failed at least over a dispute between Great Britain and Germany (and maybe also France) as to the question of the seat of the Central Division of the future Unified Patent Court, so that there simply is no ‘EU Patent Package’ that the EU Council agreed on and JURI is satisfied with, due to the issues left unresolved at the December 5th's Competitiveness Council meeting (see earlier ksnh::law posts [1], [2], [3]).

We thus raised the point that the drafts were voted on yesterday are presumably the same that well-mandated JURI rapporteurs (Bernhard Rapkay, Raffaele Baldassarre, Klaus-Heiner Lehne) carried into the back-room negotiations with the Council on December 1 (see press release) in preparation of the December 5 Competitiveness Council metting (see here). 

Further to this, well-connected anti-software-patent campaigner @gibus aiming at putting an "EU flag into EPO" - i.e. to prevent that settled EPO case law on patent-eligibility of software-implemented inventions will be applicable to the future Unitary Patent - explained in a comment on our posting
So, what has been voted by JURI on Tuesday, was only what has been agreed with the Council in trilogue. No other amendment has been accepted (including Wikström/EPLAW/Jacob amendments to delete arts 6-9 from the regulation). Even amendements suggested and voted by ITRE committee for opinion have not been incuded. (for eg. ITRE Am. 11 recalling that the “rights conferred by the European patent with unitary effect shall accord with rights conferred by the Treaties and Union law”, which is something the regulation cannot escape) have been rejected.
But at least one thing is clear, the Warsaw initialling ceremony to finalise the text of the Agreement, as announced by the Polish Presidency for December 22 (see here), was quitely omitted and the incomming Danish Presidency will now take over. 

As noticed in this tweet under @ksnhlaw, a fact sheet summarising the Priorities of the Danish Presidency announces that
[a] second objective of the Danish Presidency [after economics and finance] will be to continue the development of the single market in order to achieve its full growth potential. [...] The Danish Presidency intends to work to move the twelve key initiatives set out in the Single Market Act forward as far as possible. Special emphasis will be on the directives on public procurement, the standardisation package, revision of the accounting standards, the venture capital proposal the common European Patent system and better enforcement of the posting of workers directive. [...]. 

    20 December 2011

    JURI votes for EU Patent Package Today - But What Exacly is at Stake? (UPDATE)

    European Parliament, Strasbourg, France, Home of JURI
    Today's meeting of the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) will see the votes on the different parts of the so called EU Patent Package. According to the draft agenda the voting time is set to 10.00 to 12.30 and will cover nine votings among which are
    But what is actually at stake, what exactly are JURI members voting for?

    As reported on ksnh::law in yesterday's posting titled "EU Council: Something To Hide? Might Legal Opinion Turn Out To Be A Bombshell?", our request for public access of Document 15856/11 titled "OPINION OF THE LEGAL SERVICE – Draft agreement on the European Union Patent Jurisdiction (doc.13751/11) – compatibility of the draft agreement with the Opinion 1/09" and marked “LIMITE“ has been served by the European Parliament by a heavily redacted version in which the essential portions were deleted since this document contains "legal advice" as protected under Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. It is not far fetched that the blacked out portions relate to the Legal Service's conclusion that compatibility of the Draft Agreement with the Lisbon Treaty and further EU Law might be a problem, just as outlined in likewise confidential but meanwhile published Document 12704/11 conveying a critical Note from the General Secretariat of the EU Council titled "Creating a unified patent litigation system – Note from the Luxembourg delegation".

    Two week earlier ksnh::law reported in an article titled "JURI mandates Rapporteurs to Negotiate Unitary Patent with EU Council Behind Closed Doors", that the three JURI Rapporteurs have been equipped on 22 November 2011 with a mandate (see agenda, nos. 33, 34, 35) to negotiate the EU Patent Package with the European Council in back rooms behind closed doors. (see e.g. press release as well as press reports [1] and [2]) to ensure that broad discussions and public comments would not endanger the ambitious time schedule for reaching an agreement. Clearly, such behind-the-doors negotiations are perfect situations for non-elected players to influence the decision making process in their particular interest.

    Now that the negotiations between the EU Council and JURI ended on December 5 in confusion, speculations and ongoing criticism especially of the Court Agreement, the current condition and prospect of the EU patent project are increasingly obscure, as are the exact legal regulations JURI is voting on today. This especially holds for the Unified Patent Court Agreement, in which not only the seat of the central division appears to be unresolved but also some substantive legal issues (see here and here). 

    As today's agenda states the well-known draft documents (Draft Agreement, Proposed Regulation) and JURI pre-negotiation positions (Rapkay: PE472.059v02-00, PE475.775v01-00; Baldassarre: PE472.334v02-00, PE4725.788v01-00; Lehne: PE475.785v01-00, PE472.331v01-00) as if there never were any discussions between JURI and the Competitive Council on that epic topic, observers and stakeholders are totally lost and will be surprised when they one day realise what exactly obtained a 'yes' or 'no' by JURI on 20 December 2011.

    If the JURI version comes near to what is presented (leaked?) here, industry and patent professionals may have a Déjà Vu experience in view of the amendments the EU Parliament demanded on the so called Software Patent Directive in 2005.

    If such measures are taken by elected members of a democratic parliament, the respective matter must be in great danger or unfortunate for policy makers or both. In any case, this information hiding attitude - please excuse my openness - is a shame for any democratic legislative process, even if it only affects such minor important issues like the European internal market.

    UPDATE (20.12.2011): Now as the voting is over, an official EU Parliament press realease annonces that "EU patent gets Legal Affairs Committee green light". The essential statement is:
    [...] Legal Affairs Committee MEPs backed a political deal struck last 1 December between Parliament and Council negotiators on the so-called "EU patent package" (unitary patent, language regime and unified patent court). If Parliament as a whole and the Council confirm the deal, a new EU patent will be created. [...]
    Spotaneously one would like to ask which version of the EU patent are they exactly talking about?

    The "political deal struck last 1 December" apparently refers to the allegedly done deal the Parliament announced on 1 December. However, that "done deal" only refered to the closed door negotiations between the EU Council under the Polish Presidency and JURI (see [1], [2], [3]), which wasn't that "done" as it turned out after the EU Council meeting of 5 December 2011 (see here and here). Sadly but expectedly, neither the voting nor the press statement helped to lift the fog.







    (photo 2011 by Anka Pandrea via Flickr under a CC license)

    16 December 2011

    Organisations of Patent Professionals Submit Opinions on Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court

    After last week's EU Competitiveness Council meeting ended with rather positive news, stakeholders and interest groups increasingly launch attacks on the suggested EU Patent Package (see e.g. here and here). In two recent articles titled

    the ksnh::law blog reports on two papers of FICPI [1] and EPLAW [2] commenting on the draft Unitary Patent Regulation and Unified Patent Court Agreement. FICPI and EPLAW are two of the best-known organisations representing the interests of patent professionals and their clients in Europe, the former being more of a patent attorney's organisation while the latter exclusively represents patent lawyers. 

    As both organisations openly criticise the drafts lying on the table right now and agree to better "go slowly"  and to take a few more months to get it, they take rather different positions regarding one essential issue, namely the question of whether or not Articles 6 to 8 (substantive patent law w.r.t. infringement etc.) should remain in the Regulation for a Unified Patent, since leaving the Regulation as it is now would mean that the CJEU will have a say in substantive patent law in future.

    While FICPI thinks the following:

    [1.2.2] Whereas FICPI cannot see a realistic alternative to a certain involvement of the CJEU also in questions related to infringement cases [...] when a pan-EU harmonisation of patent jurisdiction should be achieved within the EU, FICPI realizes that there could be problems in practice if the effects (and limitations) differ between the UPR and the UPC Agreement.[...]

    FICPI therefore strongly recommends that the authorities involved in drafting the final versions of the UPR and the UPC Agreement safeguard the unitary effect of the patents, including any limitations to the patent rights.

    [2.9] Certain stakeholders have objected to the involvement of the CJEU in patent matters. [...] However, FICPI also points to the fact that in the legal system of the EU, there is no supranational authority other than the CJEU that could ensure pan-EU harmonisation (by way of referrals under Art. 267 TFEU) in contentious legal matters. [...] If therefore a pan-EU harmonisation of patent jurisdiction is wished, any practical solution thereto would have to involve the CJEU by way of referrals under Art. 267 TFEU. If the necessary Regulations and Agreements are drafted with the intention of keeping away as many potential questions form the CJEU as possible, the quality of these Regulations and Agreements will suffer [...].

    FICPI therefore thinks that [...] it should be aimed to make the CJEU a competent final authority also in patent matters and IP matters in general and to provide the CJEU with the means to achieve such goal.

    In this regard, FICPI has suggested in the past that the CJEU should include chambers specialised in intellectual property law [...].

    EPLAW strongly argues in the opposite direction:
    First of all, the question of what constitutes infringement is to be made will not be decided by the new Unified Patent Court which be obliged to refer many questions of interpretation to the European Court of Justice. In other words: the new Unified Patent Court cannot decide on its own the subject matter it is created for – a rather alarming result given the uncertainty, delay and cost that this will create for future litigants, since judges of the European Court Justice have no patent experience. [...]

    14 December 2011

    EU Patent Package Still Under Construction While Italy Joins Unified Patent Court

    Antonio Gaudi's "La Sagrade Familia" - Under Construction Since 1882
    After last week's Competitive Council meeting the EU patent deal appeard to be almost done as "only the seat of the Central Division of the Unitary Patent Court needs to be decided" (see tweet of PL Presidency).
     
    But now, one week later, reports on further or additional amendments desired by stakeholders constantly sprout up, as recently reported on ksnh::law in form of comments on the two questions
    Further recent postings relates to 
    Despite the atmoshere of an (almost) done deal, it is more than likely that stakeholdes now will use the time remaining until the "showdown" on  19/20 December - as suggested by JURI member Cecilia Wikström in a tweet - to lobby for amendments that have not been considered at last week's Council meeting. Further to that, the quickly changing political landscape may also have an impact.

    In our posting dated 8 December, we asked whether or not the Patent Package still is “broadly accepted in substance” by the Council members, as put in the nightly press release coverning the results of the Competitive Council meeting on 5 December. At least the opinions of Commissioner Barnier's Director General, Mr Pierre Delsaux ("discord remains on all points concerning the creation of a court"), make doubt about whether the above question can still be answered by "yes". 

    Especially the strong desire of (parts of) industry [1] and patent professionals [1][2][3], politically supported by JURI member Wikström and UK IP Minister Baroness Wilcox, to remove Articles 6 to 8 dealing with substantive patent law on patent infringement from the proposed Regulation appears to be still at stake (see also here or here). The fears of those groups are that otherwise substantive patent law would become part of EU legal order causing costs, delays, legal uncertainty. A related EPLAW resolution expressed such concerns in a rather pointed way:
    If one wants a really unattractive, inefficient, unpredictable and probably extremely expensive patent court system, then we will get it; one must only give the ECJ a chance to receive as many referrals in patent law as possible.

    If one wants to see substantive patent law in Europe to be decided by judges without any solid knowledge and experience in this field, then one must involve the ECJ whenever possible.

    And if somebody intended to lay a solid ground for failure of this - at some time very promising - project, then he will probably succeed.
    Our posting dated 12 December adressed Italy's attitude towards the Unified Patent and the Unitary Patent Court, now that pro-European former EU Commissioner Mario Monti is in power. As also leaked by Mr Pierre Delsaux, Prime Minister Monti is in fact considering joining the unitary system, as also reported on the Government website 'Politiche Europeo' under the headline "Italy’s ‘yes’ to the European [Patent] Court" on 8 December 2011: 
    [...] At the EU Competitiveness Council in the late afternoon of Monday, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, who for the first time participated as [Italian] Minister for European Affairs, has partially corrected the course of [Italy's] previous government concerning the international agreement for establishing the Unified Patent Court. From now on, therefore, Italy will participate in the negotiations regarding the agreement to constitute a [Unified Patent Court].
    It meanwhile has been confirmed that "Italy will participate to the negotiation on Unified Patent Court Agreement [, while] it appears that the Italian Government at the moment does not intend to withdraw the ECJ action" and thus is not yet prepared to accede to the Unitary Patent as well.

    Another open question is the seat of the Central Division of the Unitary Patent Court. The most promising candidates still appear to be Munich, London, and Paris, whereas London may have minimised its chances due to Prime Minister Cameron's recent political moves while Milan is at least put forward by Italian politicians in return for acceding the Unified Patent system.

    In any case, the next official steps will be taken on
    • 19/20 Dec, meeting of the Legal Affairs Committee JURI,
    • 22 Dec, end-of-presidency ceremony in Warsaw (see here).
    • 14 Feb 2012, first plenary session of the EU Parliament (see here),
    • 2014, entering into force of the Patent Package.

    (Photo 2006 by tata_aka_T, via Flickr under a CC license)

    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)

    04 December 2011

    European Parliament Announcend "Done Deal" on EU Patent Package with some Pride

    Tuesday last week the European Parliament rhetorically asked in a press release (pdf) if the deal on the EU patent was already done. An official press release having this headline is truly sensational, since it implies that there are reasonable chances that Spain and Italy would agree on the EU Patent Package as well.

    However, a closer look into the press statement shows that sadly it is not announcing a sensational transformation of the enhanced-cooperation-driven Unitary Patent approach into an unanimous European Union Patent thanks to a last minute attempt of the EU Parliament, but only refers to the closed door negotiations between the EU Council under the Polish Presidency and JURI, the Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee (see related postings on ksnh::law and this blog):
    Parliament's rapporteurs struck a political agreement with the Polish Presidency of the Council on the three proposals (unitary patent, language regime and unified patent court) that form the "EU patent package". 
    But this might be good news as well, since the JURI Rapporteurs Bernhard Rapkay (S&D, DE, in charge of 'Unitary Patent Protection'), Raffaele Baldassarre (EPP, IT, in charge of the 'Translation Arrangements') and Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, DE, in charge of the 'Jurisdictional system for patent disputes') followed an agenda involving reduction of patenting costs for small firms and avoiding legal confusion created when dealing with differing national patent laws, whereas the latter issue is already solved by the tabled draft texts (Document 11328/11 “Proposal for a Regulation [...] implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of unitary patent protection” dated 23 Jun 2011 and Document 15539/11 “Draft Agreement on a Unified Patent Court and draft Statute” dated 19 Oct 2011).

    However, the press statement does not go beyond the usual success stories and well known phrases like "major step for EU industry's competitiveness" and "strengthening SMEs' interests". It appears as if the European authorities in charge follow a dramaturgical agenda and try to even increase the tension among patent system users and professionals to be able to present a perfectly tailored "Patent Christmas Package" on the Warsaw end-of-presidency ceremony on 22 December.

    The regulation setting up a unitary patent protection system:
    The agreed text largely reflects the Commission proposal, and in particular a provision allowing inventors from countries currently outside the procedure to apply for an EU patent. [...] Specific provisions have been introduced to ensure that small firms benefit from reduced costs and a sound system for distributing patent renewal fees
    Upon interpreting the meaning of this abstract statement a look into the amendments to the Unitary Patent regulation as suggested by the JURI commitee might help (Document PE472.059v02-00 - COM(2011)0215 – C7-0099/2011 – 2011/0093(COD), Amendments 1 – 44 - and Document PE475.775v01-00, Amendments 45 – 94). 

    Language Arrangements:
    The proposed regime for translating EU patents would make them available in German, English and French, although applications could be submitted in any EU language. Translation costs from a language other than the three official ones would be compensated.
    Rapporteur Baldassarre added that "specific measures have been agreed to facilitate SMEs' access to the European patent market [reaching] from a stronger legal protection to full compensation of translation costs" and that "for a transitional period a second full translation into English will be obligatory" - while the SME issue might again refer to translation costs, the remaining points have been already introduced in the Proposal for a Regulation on the Unitary Patent, Document 11328/11. 

    Unified Patent Court:

    Regarding this piece of legislation it is only reported that Rapporteur Lehne "made sure that the litigation system is efficient, by giving it a decentralised structure, clear procedural rules and judges selected for their competence" - whatever that might mean before the backgrond of the present text of the Draft Agreement that realises such issues at least to a certain extent. Some hints on what such cryptic statements could actually mean might be drawn from Mr Lehnes agenda for the negotiations as setup in Document PE475.785v01-00 (Amendments 1 – 25 concerning “Motions for a resolution”, 2011/2176(INI), Jurisdictional system for patent disputes) and Document PE472.331v01-00 (Suggestion for a "Motion for a European Parliament Resolution" with amendments 2011/2176 (INI)).

    Countdown to the Agreement:
    • 5/6 Dec, Meeting of the Competitiveness Council in Brussels (see here and here). 
    • 8/9 Dec, EU Summit of the Heads of Government in Brussels,
    • 19/20 Dec, meeting of the Legal Affairs Committee JURI, 
    • 22 Dec, end-of-presidency ceremony in Warsaw (see here and here).  
    • 14 Feb 2012, first plenary session of the EU Parliament (see here), 
    • 2014, entering into force of the Patent Package.

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

    02 December 2011

    Seat of the Unified Patent Court to be Determined Comming Monday?

    It appeast the race for the seat of the future Unified Patent Court is going between London and Munich. While the German Government mad its bit for Munich already months ago, the Cameron administration needed to be pushed by professionals lately (e.g. by LES-UK and IP Foundation) to finally make its bit for London.

    As we knew that the seat of the Patent Court is scheduled to be announced on 22 December 2011 in Warsaw at the end-of-Presidency ceremony (see here), we now got aware of the fact that the decision may be drawn (but disclosed?) already at the Competitiveness Council meeting comming Monday, 5 December, as reported by ksnh::law in today's posting titled "Memo for Competitive Council Meeting on 5, 6 Dec 2011 names 'Seat of the future Unified Patent Court' as Controversial Issue", refering to today's press release (MEMO/11/864) announcing that
    "the Polish Presidency will present for agreement a number of outstanding, politically sensitive issues including the seat of the future Unified Patent Court [...]." 
    This, however, does not necessarily mean the Ministers be able to agree on a Court seat (neither that the seat is disclosed when they are able to find one - but nowadays leaking is very popular), such highly political issues are very often left for the Heads of Government, who will meet again on 8/9 December at the Brussels EU Summit.

    The debate is scheduled to start Monday morning at 9:30 with the proposal for the regulation implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection and the applicable translation arrangements (see agenda) and to continue the examination of files related to the creation of unitary patent protection and of a unified patent litigation system in the afternoon (see background note).


    The debate and the related press conferences after lunch and a the end of the evening session will be webcasted so that "thousands of patent lawyers, academics, judges and Kats across Europe [will hold] their breath....", as the IPKat put it.

    As I am a little biased and would appreciate to have the new Court within subway distance, I do wish London, the city where I once studied, all the best. By the way, if I understand the reports on the London bit right, it appears to relate to the Central Division of the Court of 1st Instance only. Wouldn't it be salomonic to have the Appeal Court in Munich then?