The EU Unitary Patent, Max Planck has 12 Reasons for Concern

The Max-Planck-Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law, which has functioned as a politically and economically unbiased centre of legal competence for European intellectual property legislation ever since its foundation in 1966, is a well-recognized scientific commentator and advisor on the evolution of European patent law.

The Institute considers a balanced, innovation-friendly and uniform patent system as being indispensable for Europe. However, the current patent package is deemed to be both dangerous and misguided. While a superficial glance may create the false impression of a patent law advancement through the proposal, it instead actually threatens to forestall the necessary legal progress and innovation capacities for the foreseeable future.

The respective concerns of the Max-Planck-Institute are shared by experts throughout Europe. Likewise, considerable parts of the industry harbor doubts as to the proposed system’s efficiency. Large undertakings might indeed benefit from a reinforcement of their patent portfolios through the proposed system. Particularly small and medium-sized enterprises are however likely to experience significant obstacles to their innovation activities.

The Max Planck criticism of the Unitary Patent package is underpinned by a series of legal arguments. Many of these points are also uncontested in the current debate. Yet remedies are only promised for the time after the entry into force of the package.

Experience shows that particularly in relation to legislation for intellectual property this promise for subsequent improvement is unlikely to be delivered on. Consequently, it might prove disastrous to implement a patent system which is already known to be detrimental from both the legal as well as the innovation perspectives. Much rather, the correct course must be set now. Against this background, the Institute believes it is indispensable to reconsider the content of the Unitary Patent Package afresh

IPEG comments: for those who have not heard yet, the location of the Unitary Court was a hot potato (what isn’t in European politics?). The outcome is that the Main Court will be located in Paris (nobody seems to know why other than that France must have made a point that it wants to be compensated in some form), a division mainly for pharmaceutical will be locatd in London and to make things completely (un)understandable, a division mainly for mechanics will be in Munich.