12.04.09

FFII: Swedish Presidency Tries to Sneak Software Patents Into Europe

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law, Patents at 10:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Swedish flag

Summary: An attempt to use a “European Free Trade Agreement” to push software patents into the EU — another menace gets noticed

THE other day we wrote about ACTA and the impact on Europe.

The president of the FFII has just found this new Word Document (saved as PDF) and he remarks that the “Swedish Presidency obtains main decision in order to obtain Software Patents in Europe,” later adding that the part about “European Free Trade Agreement” just doesn’t seem right. It says (in page 6):

35. Initially, accession by Contracting States of the European Patent Convention who are not Member States of the EU should be open for Contracting Parties to the European Free Trade Agreement. After the transitional period, the Mixed Committee could by unanimity decide to invite Contracting States of the European Patent Convention to adhere if they have fully implemented all relevant provisions of EU law and have put into place effective structures for patent protection.

Another noteworthy part says that “Amendments to the EPC deemed necessary in this regard should not imply any revision of substantive patent law” and FFII’s president believes that this also refers to or encompasses software patents.

Thanks to Tony Manco, we finally have the full text without the Word/PDF enclosure, so we append it below for future reference. Swedish readers are advised to apply pressure on those who are responsible for these proposals — deformities that would essentially ban Free software.

COUNCIL OF 
THE EUROPEAN UNION
EN 
 
 
Conclusions on an enhanced patent system in Europe  
 
2982nd COMPETITIVENESS  
(Internal market, Industry and Research) Council meeting 
 
Brussels, 4 December 2009 
 
 
The Council adopted the following conclusions: 
 
 
"THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, 
 
1. 
RECALLING that enhancing the patent system in Europe is a necessary prerequisite for 
boosting growth through innovation and for helping European business, in particular SMEs, 
face the economic crisis and international competition; 
 
2. 
CONSIDERING that such an enhanced patent system is a vital element of the Internal Market 
and that it should be based on two pillars, i.e. the creation of a European Union patent 
(hereafter "EU patent") and the setting up of  an integrated specialised and unified jurisdiction 
for patent related disputes thus improving the enforcement of patents and enhancing legal 
certainty; 
 
3. 
ACKNOWLEDGING the considerable amount of work accomplished so far by the Council’s 
preparatory bodies on the legal instruments needed to establish the above-mentioned two 
pillars; 
P R E S S  
R u e   d e   l a   L o i   1 7 5     B   –   1 0 4 8   B R U S S E L S     T e l . :   + 3 2   ( 0 ) 2   2 8 1   8 2 3 9   /   6 3 1 9     F a x :   + 3 2   ( 0 ) 2   2 8 1   8 0 2 6  
press.office@consilium.europa.eu  http://www.consilium.europa.eu/Newsroom 

EN 


 
 
4. 
AGREES that the following conclusions on the main features of the European and EU Patents 
Court (I) could form the basis of, while on the EU patent (II) they should form part of the 
overall final agreement on a package of measures for an Enhanced Patent System in Europe 
comprising the creation of a European and EU Patents Court (EEUPC), an EU patent, 
including the separate regulation on the translation arrangements referred to in point 36 
below, an Enhanced Partnership between the European Patent Office and central industrial 
property offices of Member States and, to the extent necessary, amendments to the European 
Patent Convention; 
 
5. 
STRESSES that the following conclusions are without prejudice to the request for an opinion 
of the European Court of Justice as well as to Member States’ individual written submissions  
and are conditional on the opinion of the European Court of Justice ; 
 
6. 
TAKES NOTE of the Draft Agreement on the European and Community Patents Court in 
document 7928/09 of 23 March 2009 (below the Draft Agreement), acknowledges that some 
elements of the envisaged agreement are under particular discussion; 
 
7. 
STRESSES, that the system here envisaged should be established with due regard to the 
constitutional provisions of the Member States and is without prejudice to the request for an 
opinion of the European Court of Justice; and  that the establishment of the EEUPC would be 
based on an agreement, the ratification of which by the Member States would have to take 
place in full compliance with their respective constitutional requirements; 
 
8. 
AGREES that the decision on the seat arrangements for the EEUPC should be taken as part of 
the overall final agreement referred to in point 4 above and shall be in accordance with 
relevant EU acquis; 
 
9. 
RECOGNISES that some Member States have fundamental legal concerns concerning the 
creation of the EEUPC and its envisaged overall architecture as reflected in these conclusions, 
which would have to be revisited, in the light of the opinion of the European Court of Justice. 
 
I. 
MAIN FEATURES OF THE EUROPEAN AND EU PATENTS COURT 
 
THE EUROPEAN AND EU PATENTS COURT  
 
10.  The EEUPC should have exclusive jurisdiction in respect of civil litigation related to the 
infringement and validity of EU patents and European patents. 
 
11.  As outlined in the Draft Agreement, the EEUPC should comprise a Court of First Instance, a 
Court of Appeal and a Registry. The Court of First Instance should comprise a central 
division as well as local and regional divisions. 
 
12.  The European Court of Justice shall ensure the principle of primacy of EU law and its 
uniform interpretation. 
 

EN 
 


 
THE COMPOSITION OF THE PANELS 
 
13.  In order to build up trust and confidence with users of the patent system and to guarantee the 
high quality and efficiency of the EEUPC’s work, it is vital that the composition of the panels 
is organised in a way which makes best use of experience of patent litigation among judges 
and practitioners at national level through pooling of resources. Experience could also be 
acquired through theoretical and practical training which should be provided in order to 
improve and increase available patent litigation expertise and to ensure a broad geographic 
distribution of such specific knowledge and experience. 
 
14.  All panels of the local and regional divisions and the central division of the Court of First 
Instance should guarantee the same high quality of work and the same high level of legal and 
technical expertise. 
 
15.  Divisions in a Contracting State where, during a period of three successive years, less than 
fifty cases per year have been commenced, should either join a regional division with a 
critical mass of at least fifty cases per year or sit in a composition whereby one of the legally 
qualified judges is a national of the Contracting State concerned and two of the legally 
qualified judges, who are not nationals of the Contracting State concerned, come from the 
pool of judges to be allocated to the division on a case by case basis. 
 
16.  Divisions in a Contracting State where, during a period of three successive years, more than 
fifty cases per calendar year have been commenced should sit in a composition whereby two 
of the legally qualified judges are nationals of the Contracting State. The third legally 
qualified judge, who would be of a different nationality, would be allocated from the pool of 
judges. The legally qualified judges from the pool should be allocated on a long term basis 
where this is necessary for the efficient functioning of divisions with a high work load. 
 
17.  All panels of the local and regional divisions should comprise an additional technical judge in 
the case of a counterclaim for revocation or, in the case of an action for infringement, when 
requested by one of the parties. All panels of the central division should sit in a composition 
of two legally qualified judges and one technically qualified judge. The technically qualified 
judge should be qualified in the field of technology concerned and be allocated to the panel 
from the pool of judges on a case by case basis. Under certain conditions to be defined in the 
Rules of Procedure and with the agreement of the parties, cases in the First Instance may be 
heard by a single legally qualified judge.    
 
18.  The allocation of judges should be based on their legal or technical expertise, linguistic skills 
and relevant experience. 
 
19.  The provisions regarding the composition of the panels and the allocation of judges should 
ensure that the EEUPC is an independent and impartial tribunal within the meaning of Article 
47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.  
 

EN 
 


 
JURISDICTION IN RESPECT OF ACTIONS AND COUNTERCLAIMS FOR REVOCATION 
 
20.  In order to ensure that local and regional divisions work in an expeditious and highly efficient 
way, it is vital that the divisions have some flexibility on how to proceed with counterclaims 
for revocation. 
 
(a) 
Direct actions for revocation of patents should be brought before the central division.  
 
(b) 
A counterclaim for revocation can be brought in the case of an action for infringement 
before a local or regional division. The local or regional division concerned may; 
 
(i) 
proceed with the counterclaim for revocation; or, 
 
(ii)  refer the counterclaim to the central division and either proceed with the 
infringement action or stay those proceedings; or, 
 
(iii)  with the agreement of the parties, refer the whole case for decision to the central 
division. 
 
LANGUAGES OF PROCEEDINGS 
 
21.  The Draft Agreement, the Statute and the Rules of procedure should provide for arrangements 
which would guarantee fairness and predictability of the language regime for the parties. 
Furthermore, any division of the EEUPC should provide translation and interpretation 
facilities in oral proceedings to assist the parties concerned to the extent deemed appropriate, 
in particular when one of the parties is an SME or a private party. 
 
22.  The language of proceedings of the local and regional divisions should in general be the 
language(s) of the Contracting State(s) where they would be established. Contracting States 
may however designate one or more of the official languages of the European Patent Office as 
language of proceedings of the local or regional division they host. The language of 
proceedings of the central division should be the language of the patent. The language of 
proceedings of the Court of Appeal should be the language of the proceedings at the First 
Instance.  
 
23.  Any subsequent decisions which would in any way affect the arrangements regarding the 
language of proceedings under the Agreement on the EEUPC should be adopted by 
unanimity. 
 
THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD  
 
24.  The transitional period should not last longer than five years after the entry into force of the 
Agreement on the EEUPC. 
 
25.  During the transitional period, proceedings for infringement or for revocation of a European 
patent may still be initiated before the national courts or other competent authorities of a 
Contracting State having jurisdiction under national law. Any proceedings pending before a 
national court at the end of the transitional period should continue to be subject to the 
transitional regime. 

EN 
 


 
 
26.  Unless proceedings have already been initiated before the EEUPC, holders of European 
patents or patent applications granted or applied for prior to the entry into force of the 
Agreement on the EEUPC should have the possibility to opt out of the exclusive jurisdiction 
of the EEUPC, if the opt out is notified to the Registry no later than one month before the end 
of the transitional period. 
 
REVISION CLAUSE CONCERNING THE COMPOSITION OF PANELS AND 
COUNTERCLAIMS FOR REVOCATION 
 
27.  The Commission should closely monitor the functioning, the efficiency and the implications 
of the provisions regarding the composition of the panels of the First Instance and the 
jurisdiction in respect of actions and counterclaims for revocation, see points 15, 16 and 20 
above. Either six years after the entry into force of the agreement on the EEUPC or after a 
sufficient number of infringement cases, approximately 2000, have been decided by the 
EEUPC, whichever is the later point in time, and if necessary at regular intervals thereafter, 
the Commission should, on the basis of a broad consultation with users and an opinion of the 
EEUPC, draw up a report with recommendations concerning the continuation, termination or 
modification of  the relevant provisions which should be decided by the Mixed Committee. 
 
28.  The Commission should in particular consider alternative solutions that would reinforce the 
multinational composition of the panels of the local and regional divisions and that would 
make a referral to the central division of a counterclaim for revocation, or the whole case, 
subject to agreement of both parties.  
 
PRINCIPLES ON THE FINANCING OF THE EEUPC 
 
29.  The EEUPC should be financed by the EEUPC’s own financial revenues consisting of the 
court fees, and  at least in the transitional period referred to in point 24 as necessary by 
contributions from the European Union (hereafter "EU") and from the Contracting States 
which are not Member States. 
 
30.  A Contracting State setting up a local division should provide the facilities necessary for that 
purpose. 
 
31.  The court fees should be fixed by the Mixed Committee on a proposal by the Commission 
which should include an assessment by the Commission of the expected costs of the EEUPC. 
The court fees should be fixed at such a level as to ensure a right balance between the 
principle of fair access to justice, in particular for SMEs and micro-entities, and an adequate 
contribution of the parties for the costs incurred by the EEUPC, recognising the economic 
benefits to the parties involved, and the objective of a self-financing court with balanced 
finances. Targeted support measures for SMEs and micro-entities might also be considered. 
 
32.  The EEUPC should be organised in the most efficient and cost effective manner and should 
ensure equitable access to justice, taking into account the needs of SMEs and micro-entities. 

EN 
 


 
 
33.  The EEUPC costs and financing should be regularly monitored by the Mixed Committee, and 
the level of the court fees should be reviewed periodically, in accordance with point 31 above. 
 
34.  At the end of the transitional period, on the basis of a report from the Commission on costs 
and financing of the EEUPC, the Mixed Committee should consider the adoption of measures 
aimed at the objective of self-financing. 
 
ACCESSION 
 
35.  Initially, accession by Contracting States of the European Patent Convention who are not 
Member States of the EU should be open for Contracting Parties to the European Free Trade 
Agreement. After the transitional period, the Mixed Committee could by unanimity decide to 
invite  Contracting States of the European Patent Convention to adhere if they have fully 
implemented all relevant provisions of EU law and have put into place effective structures for 
patent protection. 
 
II. 
THE EU PATENT 
 
TRANSLATION ARRANGEMENTS 
 
36.  The EU Patent Regulation should be accompanied by a separate regulation, which should 
govern the translation arrangements for the EU patent adopted by the Council with unanimity 
in accordance with Article 118 second subparagraph of the Treaty on the Functioning of the 
European Union. The EU Patent Regulation should come into force together with the separate 
regulation on the translation arrangements for the EU patent. 
 
THE RENEWAL FEES 
 
37.  The renewal fees for EU patents should be progressive throughout the life of the patent and, 
together with the fees due to be paid during the application phase, cover all costs associated 
with the granting and administration of the EU patent. The renewal fees would be payable to 
the European Patent Office, which would retain 50 percent of the renewal fees and distribute 
the remaining amount among the Member States in accordance with a distribution key to be 
used for patent-related purposes.  
 
38.  A Select Committee of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation 
should, once the EU Patent Regulation enters into force, fix both the exact level of the 
renewal fees and  the distribution key for their allocation. The Select Committee should be 
composed only of representatives of the EU and all the Member States. The position to be 
taken by the EU and the Member States in the Select Committee would need to be determined 
within the Council, at the same time as the EU Patent Regulation is adopted. The level of the 
renewal fees should in addition to the above mentioned principles be fixed with the aim of 
facilitating innovation and fostering the competitiveness of European business. It should also 
reflect the size of the market covered by the EU patent and be similar to the level of the 
renewal fees for what is deemed to be an average European Patent at the time of the first 
decision of the Select Committee. 
 

EN 
 


 
39.  The distribution key should be fixed taking into account a basket of fair, equitable and 
relevant criteria such as for instance the level of patent activity and the size of the market. The 
distribution key should provide compensation for, among other things, having an official 
language other than one of the official languages of the European Patent Office, for having 
disproportionately low levels of patent activity and for more recent EPC-membership.  
 
40.  The Select Committee should periodically review its decisions. 
 
THE ENHANCED PARTNERSHIP  
 
41.  The aim of the Enhanced Partnership is to promote innovation by enhancing the efficiency of 
the patent granting process through avoiding duplication of work, with the goal of more rapid 
delivery of patents which will increase speed of access to market for innovative products and 
services and reduce costs for applicants. Enhanced Partnership should both make use of 
central industrial property offices’ existing expertise and strengthen their capacity to enhance 
the overall quality of the patent system in future. 
 
42.  Enhanced Partnership should enable the European Patent Office to make regular use, where 
appropriate, of the result of any search carried out by central industrial property offices of 
Member States of the European Patent Organisation on a national patent application the 
priority of which is claimed in a subsequent filing of a European patent application. Such a 
result should be available to the European Patent Office in accordance with the Utilisation 
Scheme of the European Patent Office.  
 
43.  Central industrial property offices can play a vital role in fostering innovation. All central 
industrial property offices, including those which do not perform searches in the course of a 
national patent granting procedure, can have an essential role under the Enhanced Partnership, 
advising potential applicants including SMEs, disseminating patent information and receiving 
applications. 
 
44.  Enhanced Partnership should fully respect the central role of the European Patent Office in 
examining and granting European patents. Under the Enhanced Partnership the European 
Patent Office would be expected to consider but not be obliged to use the work provided by 
participating offices. The European Patent Office should remain free to carry out further 
searches. The Enhanced Partnership should not restrict the possibility for applicants to file 
their application directly at the European Patent Office. 
 
45.  Enhanced partnership would be subject to periodic reviews, adequately involving views of the 
users of the patent system. In addition, regular feed back from the European Patent Office to 
the participating offices on how search reports are utilised at the European Patent Office 
would be essential for the enabling of the fine-tuning of the search process to the benefit of 
the optimal utilisation of resources. 

EN 
 


 
 
46.  Enhanced partnership should be based on a European Standard for Searches (ESS), containing 
criteria for ensuring quality. The ESS should in addition to searches include standards on inter 
alia training, tools, feedback and assessment. 
 
47.  At the same time as the EU Patent Regulation is adopted, the position to be taken by the EU 
and the Member States on the implementation of the Enhanced Partnership, including the 
ESS, should be determined within the Council and then be implemented within the context of 
the European Patent Network (EPN), in particular, the Utilization Scheme and the European 
Quality System, within the policy of the European Patent Organisation. 
 
48.  The participation of central industrial property offices in an Enhanced Partnership should be 
voluntary but open to all. In the spirit of facilitating the utilization and pooling of all available 
resources, regional cooperation should be encouraged. In addition the possibility of limiting 
the participation of a central industrial property office to one or more specific technical fields 
should be further analysed, tested and evaluated.  
 
49.  The steps now taken should be without prejudice to any future development of the Enhanced 
Partnership, including future models for improving the partnership between the European 
Patent Office and the central industrial property offices. Against this background, the 
European Patent Office and Member States should give a comprehensive evaluation of the 
functioning and the further development of the Enhanced Partnership, based on experience 
gained through the implementation and the performance achieved by central industrial 
property offices in meeting the ESS. 
 
AMENDMENTS TO THE EUROPEAN PATENT CONVENTION AND ACCESSION OF THE 
EUROPEAN UNION TO THE EUROPEAN PATENT CONVENTION 
 
50.  In order for the EU patent to become operational, to the extent necessary, amendments would 
be made to the European Patent Convention (EPC). The EU and its Member States should 
take any necessary measures and put them into force, including those for the accession of the 
EU to the EPC. Amendments to the EPC deemed necessary in this regard should not imply 
any revision of substantive patent law, not related to the creation of the EU patent."  
 
 
_________________ 

EN 
 

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    Links for the day



  3. Microsoft's Status in Web Servers is So Bad That It Has Fallen Off Charts, is Now Partly Delisted

    In several categories or criteria Microsoft is no longer even listed by Netcraft; the share has become rather minuscule during the pandemic, which convinced more companies to explore expense-cutting moves



  4. We Take Away Your Freedom for Your Own Safety...

    People are herded like cattle and protest/dissent will be demonised as part of the new norm; what will be the cost of the pandemic and will resistance to the status quo ever be permitted to resume?



  5. EPO President Pushes Illegal Software Patents in South America (Over the Telephone With a Misleading New Puff Piece)

    The EPO's "news" section has become worse than a form of distraction (from the EPO's internal rot); it celebrates illegal and unlawful practices, spreading them to other continents



  6. The Free Software Foundation Warns Against Using Twitter

    Richard Stallman said Twitter was OK because it was possible to use it without proprietary software; that's no longer the case, so the Free Software Foundation (FSF) speaks out against it. It speaks about it more than 3 months after the problem became a known one and also an irreversible one (maybe Twitter would have reversed the decision if the media or the FSF actually spoke about it early enough).



  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 25, 2021



  8. Stéphane Bortzmeyer Explains Gemini Protocol (February 2021)

    A recent talk from Stéphane Bortzmeyer about Gemini and what it is for (or why)



  9. Links 26/2/2021: Istio 1.7.8 Announced, Blender 2.92, Firebird 3.0 Language Reference, FSF Against Twitter

    Links for the day



  10. Special Thanks to Mogz

    Credit where it's due to Mogz



  11. Modifying WordPress to Include Gemini Links in All Articles (Assuming a Canonical URL Form)

    In order to promote the departure from the World Wide Web (where possible and suitable; sites with text don't typically need Web-like features) one can promote the analogous pages in one's Gemini capsule; we suggest a way of doing so in WordPress (the most widely used CMS)



  12. Links 25/2/2021: RHEL for Open-Source Infrastructure, GNOME 40 Beta, LXPanel 0.10.1

    Links for the day



  13. IBM and Qt Don't Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge

    IBM and Qt Don't Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge



  14. Techrights Gemini Capsule, Now With Over 35,000 Pages and Files

    Blog posts combined with static (plain text) files are now 36,000+ in number, just for Gemini protocol alone; that number keeps growing as our conversion proceeds and evolves (our software will be released under terms of the AGPLv3)



  15. Eventually, or Hopefully, Many People Will Come Back to What the Web Used to Be (Or Web Alternatives More Like the 'Old' Web)

    With RSS feeds making a comeback and a resurgence of personal blogs we can take back the Web from a cabal of tech/Internet giants and social control media, censored, curated and spied on by oligarchy



  16. If Wikipedia is Controlled by Corporations and Mobs, It Needs to Be 'Cancelled'

    Facts have never truly mattered in social control media sites; it certainly seems as though Wikipedia now suffers the very same issue/deficit, allowing oligarchs and their companies to define what goes on in the world and which people Wikipedia should regard as persona non grata



  17. GNU/Linux Reaffirms Its Status as the Universal and Inter-planetary Operating System

    The operating system made for and by scientists (not business sharks and marketing cults) is winning the battle, and not only in this planet



  18. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 24, 2021



  19. Links 25/2/2021: Kali Linux 2021.1, Wine Launcher 1.4.46, and Google's Security Posing

    Links for the day



  20. Links 24/2/2021: MariaDB 10.5.9, Krita 4.4.3 Beta, and Debuginfod Server for Debian

    Links for the day



  21. Self-Host Your Videos, Take Full Advantage of HTML5 and Video Attributes

    For self-hosting of videos over the World Wide Web (Gemini too can handle videos; its clients/browsers can, for example, link video files/URLs to external media players) it's worth reviewing the full set of features made available by the standards because a lot can be accomplished without JavaScript and without unnecessary bloat/complexity



  22. Trying Out NoiseTorch to Reduce Background Sound/Noise in GNU/Linux

    An introduction to noisetorch (or NoiseTorch), an application that helps create virtual microphones/devices with reduced background noise



  23. How the Big Banks and OIN Can Whitewash Software Patents and Do Nothing Concrete About Patent Trolls

    Response to the puff piece entitled "How the Big Banks and OIN Can Lock Out Patent Trolls with Enabled Publications"



  24. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 23, 2021



  25. How to Set Up a Gemini Server of Your Own, Even on a Simple Single-Board Computer

    Using Agate to start one's own Gemini capsule (self-hosted) is a lot simpler than one might be inclined to believe; this is a detailed HOWTO, hoping to encourage more people to join Gemini space, which is fast-growing and free of garbage



  26. Links 23/2/2021: Tails 4.16, Libinput 1.17, Fwupd 1.5.7, Firefox 86, NeoChat 1.1

    Links for the day



  27. The Word Master is Not Problematic in Most Contexts and Its Origin Hasn't a Connection to Slavery

    Slavery is to the word "master" mostly disconnected; it might, however, be closely connected in the minds of racists or the agenda of highly racist corporations (profiting from racism) that look for ways to distract from their racism



  28. On Misapplication, Misuse, Overuse and Abuse of Words (to Suit False Narratives)

    It is looking like the word "abuse" has been extended to basically mean all sorts of things including the act of actually exposing real abuse



  29. The Administrative Council Needs to Fix the EPO While It's Still Possible

    EPO staff and former staff (pensioners) aren't happy and the it's the responsibility of the Administrative Council to do something before it's too late (the reputation of the Office is already severely harmed and it's unable/unwilling to recruit suitable and qualified people, both as examiners and managers, respectively)



  30. 'These Questions Remain Unanswered': Campinos Became Battistelli Just Halfway Through His Term

    The Central Staff Committee of the EPO highlights the grim situation or the deadlock reached after totally dysfunctional Office management somehow managed to kill off channels of communication, in effect going back to where things were back in 2018 under Battistelli


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