Issue 53 | February 27, 2003
UPDATE: European Community Patent Proposal
 On December 11, 2001, we informed you that the "European 'Community Patent' Proposal" was derailed when Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece insisted on their languages being integrated into the new system. Now, according to the Community Research and Development Information Service ("CORDIS"), a new compromise on the community patent should result in a political agreement by no later than May 2003.

In an interview with CORDIS News, Dimitris Deniozos, the Greek General Secretary for Research and Development, said that the latest proposal was presented to the Committee of Member States' Permanent Representatives ("COREPER") on February 12 by the Greek Presidency. According to Mr. Deniozos, the role of national patent offices, distribution of fees and the languages have "more or less been managed by previous presidencies" so that the latest proposal is "mainly concerned by addressing the issues surrounding the judicial system for a community patent."

There are currently two opposing positions on how to best provide for a single patent enforcement mechanism. While some Member States support the idea of having a single court to hear patent cases, others are calling for the establishment of regional chambers or decentralised judicial units.

The latest compromise calls for one court based in Luxembourg that will ensure uniformity in case law. Member States may also establish decentralised enforcement forums, but would be responsible for their own operating costs. Mobile judges could then rule in actions within Member States but still belong to the same central judicial system. The current proposal also calls for patent specifications to be translated into just the three working languages of the EU, while patent claims will be made available in all of the EU's official languages. Furthermore, those wishing to file a patent will be allowed to do so in their own country or through the European Patent Office.

COREPER is expected to close the matter by February 26 in preparation for the Competitiveness Council meeting on 3 March.

To discuss this topic further, please contact the author, Bill Heinze, at Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley. The information contained in this email is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice. Neither the APLF nor the author intends to create an attorney client relationship by providing this information to you through this message.