EPLA: The Next Anti-Patent Punchbag

Not bothered by an actual knowledge about what EPLA is about and more concerned about his future as an anti software patent crusader now the EU Directive is off the table, he now takes aim against the patent system as such. Florian Mueller, in his blog No Lobbyists As Such, with a Bushonian subtitle “The War over Software Patents in the European Union”, does not shy back from uttering the following canard:

“In his speech, he said the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) “is a goal worth pursuing” and that he wanted to involve the EU in the EPLA negotiations “and bring them to finality”. He falsely claims that the EPLA would “offer valuable cost savings”: even Nokia and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline have already pointed out that the opposite would be the case.

His claim that the EPLA is compatible with the idea of an EU-wide Community patent is also a misrepresentation. The EPLA is only about strengthening the European Patent Office (EPO).”

Mueller is referring to EU Commissioner McCreevy’s speech last week where he seemed to be more positive and supportive of EPLA than ever before. That, obviously is bad news for those that now use the EPLA as the new punchbag against the patent system as such.

The EPLA is not about “strengthening the EPO”. The EPLA is a draft for a European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) with the intention on establishing a European patent litigation system. It is a proposed patent law agreement aimed at creating an “optional protocol to the European Patent Convention (EPC) which would commit its signatory states to an integrated judicial system, including uniform rules of procedure and a common appeal court”.

It is a sensible, well thought, enforcement system of patents that have been granted by EPO. It is a proposal for an agreement between member states of the EU Turkey and Switzerland and some member states to the European Patent Organization to establish a Diplomatic Conference, leading to a Treaty whereby the current proposals of a Working Party would be implemented.

In 1973, when the European Patent Convention was establihed, leading to the EPO and an uniform granting of patents, the patent community failed to agree on an enforcement in national courts, of that same European patent. Creating a European patent is one thing, enforcing it throughout Europe at reasonable cost, predictable and protective of interest of patent holders and their opponents, is nothing but a sure way to innovation. And long overdue.

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