Implementing enhanced cooperation regarding the creation of unitary patent protection
European patent legislation has been scattered across the Member States for a long time.
Whereas the European Patent Office (EPO) was established in Munich in 1977 and European patents could be registered there, they also needed to be registered in Member States so that they could benefit from effective protection in court.
This meant that companies and inventors had to shoulder costs for various administrative procedures and translation costs.
The 'patent package' set out to change this.
What was the Greens' position?
The Greens believe that since the EPO was set up based on an international agreement, rather than on European law, it is democratically problematic.
In our view the EU should have a proper European patent, embedded in the EU's legal system and legislative structures.
The Commission's proposal made no provision for this, so we introduced amendments designed to enable legal recourse against EPO decisions in national courts.
We also believe that the content of European patent policy should be dealt with by the European Parliament. At present, the Member States delegate this task to their patent agencies.
Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?
The Greens succeeded in raising awareness about the problematic situation in EU patent law.
We took the initiative of demanding greater democratic accountability in EU patent law, and MEPs from other groups joined our call. Whilst this constitutes an important step towards defining a future patent policy, it remains a relatively modest success within the framework of the negotiations on the current package.
Moreover, Spain and Italy opted out of the agreement because neither Italian nor Spanish were made official languages of the unitary patent protection mechanism.
Which points did the Greens lose?
The Greens were unable to secure majority backing for our key demands due to strong support for the S&D and EPP.
We regret that Parliament deliberately relinquished its powers on patent policy despite some highly problematic decisions taken by the EPO. All our amendments, concerning the facilitation of local plant breeding and the exclusion of software patents from the EPO's jurisdiction, were rejected.
Procedure:Ordinary legislative procedure
Lead MEP:Bernhard Rapkay (S&D)
Green MEP responsible:Christian Engström
Staff contact:Francesca Beltrame (Email)
Outcome of the vote
Below you find the results of the final vote in plenary. How did the political groups vote? What about national delegations? And what was the position of your MEP?