Community patent - jurisdictional arrangements (Extract from Background, Competitiveness Council)

November 11, 2002

Copenhagen, 08 Nov 2002

The Council will attempt to reach agreement on a number of key issues relating to the jurisdictional arrangements for the proposed Community patent, with a view to enabling agreement at a later stage on an overall compromise package. The main discussion on this item will be held at lunch.

Discussions on the jurisdictional arrangements have not been conclusive and there is a clear need for political guidance at this stage. The Permanent Representatives Committee has examined the structure of the proposed Community Patent Court (CPC), which would consist of both a central chamber and decentralised chambers located in different parts of the Community.

A presidency note identifies elements which should be broadly acceptable to a majority in the Council and which could form the basis for an agreement on most of the key issues. However:

- One delegation rejects the notion of selective decentralisation of the CPC, which in its view would result in discrimination against those member states that do not qualify for a regional chamber. This view is to an extent shared by certain other delegations that have reservations on the nature of the criteria to determine whether member states may host regional chambers.

- Certain delegations are opposed to allowing for an interval between the establishment of the central chamber and the setting up of regional chambers. The Commission and several other delegations, however, consider such a transition as necessary to enable for the central chamber to develop a coherent jurisprudence and working methods.

- One delegation has a reservation because of the absence of a mention that the central chamber of the CPC will be based, as originally proposed, in Luxembourg.

The proposed regulation is aimed at creating a single patent that would be valid throughout the Community, to be granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich in accordance with the requirements and procedures laid down in the European Patent Convention (EPC) and its implementing regulation.

The European Council has emphasised on several occasions that the Community patent must be an efficient and flexible instrument obtainable by businesses at an affordable cost, while complying with the principles of legal certainty and non-discrimination between Member States and ensuring a high level of quality.

At its meeting on 21 May, the Council adopted conclusions on the then Spanish presidency's proposed approach as the basis for further work the main issues raised by the proposal, namely translations and costs (in particular the linguistic regime), the role of national patent offices, fees and the jurisdiction system. It is the latter issue that will be subject to Council deliberation at the present session.

The proposal is based on articles 308, 225a and 229a of the Treaty (requiring unanimity in the Council and consultation of the European Parliament).

Danish Presidency Website http://www.eu2002.dk/main/

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