Despite what initially sounded like good news from the European Council summit on 28/29 June 2012, the epic EU unitary patent saga will probably continue for many more months, as reported lately on the ksnh::law blog:
- JURI Committee considers Council version of Unitary Patent Regulation infringing EU Primary Law and leaves for Summer Break (July 10)
- Unitary Patent: Political Struggle and Shift of Competence towards Central Division (July 3)
- Stormy Weather Ahead: Unitary Patent, ACTA in European Parliament (July 2)
- Next Steps and further Problems ahead for EU Patent Package (July 1)
The problem was, however, that UK Prime Minister David Cameron could, under the strong influence of his eurosceptics allies at home, push through the 'suggestion'
that Articles 6 to 8 of the [Unitary Patent] Regulation [...] to be adopted by the Council and the European Parliament be deletedmeaning that substantive EU patent law will not any more be subject to legal supervision by the European Court of Justice (CJEU), understood by some observers as nothing less than an open declaration of deep mistrust against the Union's highest court, if not political warfare.
Since then two press releases have been issued by the Parliament that show both the Parliament's level of irritation and JURI's willingness to refuse any text in which the CJEU has not the final say about the EU patent system:
- Council move would infringe EU law, says EP rapporteur (July 10)
- Parliament postpones vote due to Council's last-minute change (July 3)
The press release of 10 July 2012 clarified the view of rapporteur Rapkay, expectedly the opinion of the JURI committee as a whole:
The European Council's move to delete three key articles from the long-awaited EU patent regulation, and thus greatly reduce the European Court of Justice's power to enforce it, "infringes EU law" [...]. "If you take that content out, there is nothing left to regulate" [...]. What remains "would not be effective at all" in ensuring EU-wide protection of patent rights.and further
[...] "Today is not a starting point for new negotiations.We shall stick to the agreement" reached in December 2011. "If there is no EU patent, it's the Council's fault"
We might witness an interesting political summer on the British isles while waiting on JURI to continue discussing this issue with the Parliament's legal service after the summer recess, possibly in September.