On 4 December 2011, FICPI submitted to the European Commission its position paper responding to the EC's proposal for a Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent. The EC proposals were recently released together with a draft Statute, and a draft Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection. In the short time available to it, FICPI prepared its response, taking into account existing FICPI positions and resolutions.
In its response, FICPI expressed its concern with the haste and lack of consultation with which the proposals had been made, and urged greater user consultation to identify the legal and practical deficiencies in the proposals.
In its position paper, FICPI stated:
"FICPI believes that the present projects have been prepared with excessive haste and suffer from a number of severe legal and practical deficiencies, partly because there has been inadequate consultation with the stakeholders of the patent system, which is essential to robust and effective law making.
"FICPI therefore considers that it would be a mistake to sign and enforce the planned legislation documents in their current form.
"FICPI therefore strongly urges the authorities in charge of enforcing this project to pause and organize a proper user-consultation process that would allow the major roadblocks identified by FICPI (and detailed below) and other organizations to be addressed. FICPI would be very willing to participate in such consultation process.
"In the limited time available, FICPI has intensively studied the numerous consecutive proposals in its Study and Work Commission (CET) and has identified severe legal and practical deficiencies in these proposals, which would be detrimental to the future system, and to the image of the IP system in general, if these concepts were enacted and enforced in their present status.
"FICPI shares the impression of many other user groups that the present matter is being handled much too quickly, with important issues not thought through and not publicly debated (especially with the stakeholders of the system) as they should be. Problematic and therefore bad law will result. As FICPI will show hereinafter, important provisions in the present proposals, e.g. with respect to the competence of the divisions, fee structure, languages, amendment procedure, and of course, the Rules of Procedure of the Court, are not properly defined or formulated to allow an overall assessment of the project. Renewal fees too have not been properly explored. And there is still strong objection to the definition of the effect of a Unitary Patent".
The paper, which has been provisionally approved by the Bureau of FICPI and which will be submitted to the ExCo in Melbourne for ratification, contains a detailed discussion of each of the proposals, and is available for review by clicking here.
FICPI continues to represent the interests of its members and their clients with respect to IP issues worldwide.