[A2k] FSFE's message to MEPs on unitary patent

Karsten Gerloff gerloff at fsfeurope.org
Mon Dec 10 11:31:37 PST 2012


Dear all, 

ahead of the European Parliament's vote on the unitary patent
tomorrow, FSFE has sent the message below to all MEPs.



Best regards,
Karsten

----- Forwarded message from Karsten Gerloff <gerloff at fsfeurope.org> -----

> Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2012 18:25:25 +0100
> From: (Karsten Gerloff)" <gerloff at fsfeurope.org>
> To: "Mr. Karsten Gerloff" <gerloff at fsfeurope.org>
> Subject: First, do no harm: EP should delay vote on unitary patent
> 
> The European Parliament is about to vote on a "unitary patent" for Europe in its plenary session tomorrow, December 11. Experts from all sides of the patent debate have warned that the draft agreement currently on the table (st16222/12 of 14 Nov. 2012) suffers from serious legal and practical problems. In the light of these problems, we at the Free Software Foundation Europe urge you to delay the vote until a better solution can be worked out.
> 
> Under the current proposal, the Parliament would agree to give up its power to shape Europe's innovation policy. This is a dangerous proposition. Knowledge and innovation are crucial to our future, and we cannot simply delegate their management to a technocratic body such as the European Patent Organisation. Europe's political institutions have to have the final say over innovation policy. This is a responsibility which MEPs cannot shirk.
> 
> MEPs must not saddle Europe's innovators with a rotten compromise. Innovation is a key part of our common future, and it is too important to be gambled away in a hasty decision.
> 
> The political process that has led up to the current proposal has suffered from a marked lack of transparency. The European Parliament still has not published the text of the inter-instutional agreement which it reached with the Council on November 19.
> 
> Further reading on problems with the current unitary patent package:
> - Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law: The Unitary Patent Package: Twelve Reasons for Concern http://www.ip.mpg.de/en/pub/publications/opinions/unitary_patent_package.cfm
> 
> - Dr. Jochen Pagenberg highlights that SMEs will suffer under the agreement: http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2012/12/unitary-patent-deja-vu-council-debate.html
> 
> We are deeply alarmed that such a crucial text may be ramrodded through Parliament before MEPs and the interested public have had a chance to properly consider the text. We ask you to support MEP Eva Lichtenberger in her request to delay a plenary vote on the agreement until all involved have had sufficient time to scrutinise this crucial building block of Europe's innovation system:
> 
> MEP Lichtenberger's letter to fellow MEPs: https://www.unitary-patent.eu/content/unitary-patent-eva-lichtenberger-sends-open-letter-her-fellow-meps
> 
> We ask you to ensure Europe's software companies (mostly SMEs) will not suffer a devastating assault of patent litigation, by supporting Amendment No. 74.
> 
> The final say over innovation policy in Europe must lie with the political institutions which citizens have entrusted with the task of shaping our society to optimise public welfare. For this reason, we ask you to support Amendment No. 76, which gives the Parliament the final say over the shape of Europe's patent system.
> 
> The most important practical problems with the current package are:
> 
> - Instead of providing uniformity and transparency for market participants, the current proposal will create divergence and confusion. It will be hard for anyone to obtain clarity on how a patent may be used, or where its powers end.  
> 
> - Lack of limitations and exceptions puts Europeans'freedom to innovate at risk. There is no provision for compulsory licenses, posing a grave danger to public welfare. The lack of a research exception puts a millstone of risk around the neck of Europe's scientists.  
> 
> - Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of Europe's economy. If this wrong-headed compromise is accepted, they will bear the brunt of the resulting problems. This is not something that Europe can afford, much less in the midst of an economic crisis.
> 
> The most important legal problems with the current package are:
> 
> - The compromise would lead to a fragmentation of the internal market, as patents would not be uniformly enforceable across all EU member states. Additionally, there would be four overlapping levels of patents existing side by side. This will inevitably create substantial confusion and business risks for innovators and companies.  
> 
> - A proliferation of courts that may handle patent litigation will inevitably lead to a fragmentation of jurisprudence. This will even further confuse anyone who comes into contact with the patent system, increase the costs of litigation, and make patent risks even harder to calculate for businesses.  
> 
> - The envisioned Unified Patent Court is incompatible with European law. Europe's policy makers have failed to address the problems highlighted by the European Court of Justice in its Opinion 1/09 (March 2011). Even the Parliament's own Legal Services department has doubts about the package's legality.
> 
> A package which leaves such significant problems unaddressed is not fit to be adopted by responsible lawmakers. We understand that both the Commission and the Council are keen to finally put this hotly contested issue behind them. But the current solution is a deeply flawed compromise with numerous known problems. Please do not allow it to be rushed through the parliamentary process in the face of widespread opposition from the patent system's stakeholders.
> 
> FSFE joins large parts of the innovation community in urging the Parliament to reconsider the unitary patent package. Until a better solution can be achieved, MEPs should heed the age-old principle: First, do no harm.
> 
> Thank you for your consideration. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
> 
> With kind regards, Karsten Gerloff
> 
> President, Free Software Foundation Europe
> 
> 
> 
> == Contact == 
> Karsten Gerloff 
> President, Free Software Foundation Europe 
> E-Mail: gerloff at fsfeurope.org 
> Phone: +49 176 9690 4298 
> 
> == About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==
> The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and involved in many global activities. Access to software determines participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study, modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues, securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues of the FSFE.  http://fsfe.org/
> 
> Bilker Allee 173
> Düsseldorf, 40217
> Germany
> http://crm.fsfe.org/civicrm/mailing/optout?reset=1&jid=59&qid=9313&h=0270a6732ab04dab

----- End forwarded message -----

-- 
Karsten Gerloff                      [ ]   <gerloff at fsfeurope.org>
Free Software Foundation Europe   [ ][ ][ ]      [http://fsfe.org]
President                            | |         +49 176 9690 4298
Your donation powers our work!           [http://fsfe.org/donate/]

Free Software Foundation Europe e.V. is a German Verein registered
at the Registergericht Hamburg (VR 17030). 






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