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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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  1. Links 18/1/2019: Mesa 18.3.2, Rust 1.32.0

    Links for the day



  2. Links 17/1/2019: ZFS Debate Returns, AWS Pains Free Software

    Links for the day



  3. US Patent Lawyers Will Need to Change Profession or End up Becoming Abundantly Redundant, Unemployed

    In the age of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) and 35 U.S.C. § 101 it’s too risky to sue with dodgy patents; moreover, the Federal Circuit‘s growing adoption of Alice means that no recent cases have given hope to patent maximalists and litigation frequency has fallen again (at double-digit rates)



  4. Links 16/1/2019: Deepin 15.9 Released and Mozilla Fenix

    Links for the day



  5. Brexit Has Failed, But So Has the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Even though all signs indicate that the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will never become a reality spin is to be expected from Team UPC, still looking to profit from more litigation and expanded scope



  6. IBM, Which Will Soon be Buying Red Hat, is Promoting Software Patents in Europe

    Even days apart/within confirmation of IBM's takeover of Red Hat IBM makes it clear that it's very strongly in favour of software patents, not only in the US but also in Europe



  7. Team UPC on Dead UPC: Choosing Gowns for Corpses

    The campaign of lies, long waged by Team UPC in order to manipulate politicians and courts, hasn’t stopped even in 2019 (IAM threw in the towel, but some of Team UPC is still ‘embalming’ UPCA)



  8. Links 15/1/2019: MX Linux MX-18 Continuum Reviewed, Mageia 7 Artwork Voting

    Links for the day



  9. Council of Europe (CoE) Recognises There's No Justice at the EPO

    It’s now the Council of Europe‘s turn to speak out about the grave state of international organisations that exist in Europe but aren’t subjected to European law (which they routinely violate with impunity)



  10. Dominion Harbor -- Armed by Microsoft's Biggest Patent Troll -- Goes After the World's Biggest Android OEMs, Huawei and Samsung

    Dominion Harbor, the patent troll that gets bucketloads of patents from Intellectual Ventures (a patent troll strongly connected to Microsoft and Bill Gates), is still suing using shell entities



  11. Links 14/1/2019: Linux 5.0 RC2 and DXVK 0.95 Released

    Links for the day



  12. Only the Higher Courts -- Not Trump's 'Poster Child' -- Can Bring Back Software Patents

    Software patents are not making a "comeback" as some like to claim; in fact, the latest court cases and notably their outcomes suggest that nothing has changed



  13. “Uniloc is a Lawsuit Factory”

    Apple is a very secretive company, so it is hard to know what goes on with the patent troll Uniloc



  14. European Patent Office a Textbook Example of Lawless, Rogue Institutions

    The tyrannical nature of the EPO is still being demonstrated by the sad fate of Patrick Corcoran; technical judges at the EPO are feeling intimidated by nontechnical politicians and bankers



  15. No, Software Patents Are Not Poised to Make a Comeback Under New US Patent Office Rules

    Poor understanding of the difference between patent courts and patent offices is to blame for widely-spread misinformation from Ars Technica (part of Condé Nast)



  16. IP Kat Has Turned From EPO Critic (to the Point of Being Blocked by the EPO) to EPO Whitewasher That Gags EPO Whistleblowers

    The EPO tried to forcibly gag (block) IP Kat like it blocks Techrights (since 2014); failing that, the EPO got the blog to just act as a whitewashing operation for Team Campinos (more or less the same as Team Battistelli)



  17. Linspire 'Reborn' is Still Working for Microsoft and Facilitating Surveillance on GNU/Linux Users

    GNU/Linux spyware scandals may be back (and it's not about Canonical and Amazon but Linspire and Microsoft); Microsoft is meanwhile exposing innocent kids to pedophiles and it refuses to explain or defend this



  18. Links 12/1/2019: Wine 4.0 RC6, X-Plane 11.30, SuperTuxKart 0.10 Beta, LibreOffice 6.2 RC2

    Links for the day



  19. The EPO's Low Patent Quality Can Kill the European Software Industry and Kill People Too

    The patents granted by the EPO are often invalid as per courts' decisions, which means that fake/illegitimate European Patents saturate the market and discourage development (e.g. of software and life-saving drugs)



  20. The Fiction That Spain (or Italy) Can Salvage the UPC

    The proponents/lobbyists of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), firms that make money from patent litigation (we collectively call these "Team UPC"), are nowadays backpedaling, having come to grips with the death of the UPC, realising it's time to save face by pretending everything they said in the past wasn't a lie



  21. Links 11/1/2019: IBM-Red Hat Obstacle Cleared, Toyota Chooses Linux

    Links for the day



  22. EPO President “Campinos is Wasting His Credibility With “Sweet” Communiqués Full of Hot Air and Storytelling”

    EPO insiders insist if not demand that all those responsible for the corruption and the abuses be removed; Campinos has done the opposite by promoting those who caused harm and turning his overseer into his subordinate



  23. The Emptiness of the Linux Foundation's Commitment to Linux and Its True Openness... to Corporate Cash (in Exchange for Influence)

    Like Pence and Moreno, who exchange a political refugee for loans, the Linux Foundation abandons its commitment to GNU/Linux in exchange for maximisation of financial contributions



  24. Links 10/1/2019: Linux 4.20.1, GNOME 3.31.4 Released

    Links for the day



  25. Links 9/1/2019: Qubes OS 4.0.1, Bash 5.0

    Links for the day



  26. European Patent Office Saga in 2019: “95% of the People Responsible for the Misery Are Still in Place and Have Not Even Been Rebuked”

    No signs of reformation at Europe's second-largest institution, which still suffers from justice deficit and blatant corruption



  27. Links 8/1/2019: Godot 3.1 Reaches Beta, Tidelift Gets Money

    Links for the day



  28. EPO Corruption is Helping Patent Maximalists in the United States

    The law firms that promote abstract patents in the United States (in the face of growing opposition from courts) adopt the EPO as a sort of 'poster child' because quality of European Patents keeps decreasing and lawlessness is increasing



  29. Links 7/1/2019: Linux 5.0 RC1

    Links for the day



  30. Words to Avoid: Cloud, Serverless, Microservices and More

    The marketing industry is hijacking press coverage and journalism has turned into a laughable mash-up of buzzwords; technical people ought to push back


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