08 October 2007

Is France changing its position on EPLA?

The rumor goes that France is due to make a sea change shift towards supporting the EPLA, an initiative to harmonize the way patents are being litigated in Europe. The French Research Minister (heading the French Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche”) Valérie Pecresse, has sent a letter (or is about to do so) to her German counterpart, expressing the French support for EPLA. We have not been able to find any confirmation or hard evidence for this rumor from anyone yet, nor from the French delegates to the AIPPI ExCO meeting currently taking place in Singapore. They do agree though, that such a letter would implicate a sea change in the position of France, who has been the most vocal of antis against the EPLA proposal. One wonders whether the French Minister – in indeed she sent the letter, or is about to do so – could do this without the backing of Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President (not if you are fond of your job as a French Minister, we imagine).

The support would not only be for EPLA, but also for the London Agreement. The London Agreement was concluded in London on 17 October 2000 with the aim of creating a cost attractive post-grant translation regime for European patents. It is the fruit of the work on reducing European patent costs, which was set in motion at the Intergovernmental Conference held in France in June 1999.

EPLA has been on a bumpy road so far. McCreevy, the EU's internal market commissioner, told the Financial Times in 2006 that "anything remotely concerning this patent area is fraught with minefields at every turn of the road". He said the failure to secure backing from national governments made him "pessimistic" about the prospect of making progress on the issue. Should pessimism now turn euphoric? Not yet, I am afraid. Let us see what the position of France, the major non voter so far, is. Does Sarkozy now lets his influence count on this subject as well?

Anyone in the position to (if necessary namelessly) confirm or deny this rumor? Please reply to this blog (below, push the envelope).

other IPEG blogs on EPLA: see http://ipgeek.blogspot.com/2007/02/negative-opinion-on-powers-of-eu-member.html and the column on the right of this blog, called "EPLA - everything you always wanted to know but was unable to find"


L'auteur said...

After the National Assembly, France's Sentate is about to approve the ratification of the London Agreement, probably on October 9 or 10.

Concerning the EPLA, a Minister (Mr Jouyet) has recenty declared, during the debate on the London Agreement at the National Assembly, that France will reject EPLA because it favors the Community patent.

More info here

zoobab said...


Anonymous said...

Next step is Sarkozy signing the law.
Rumors are it will take a while, being retaining as a chip for bargaining the next move, a big change (EPLA or similar, changing -again!- the EPC, EU realtion to the EPO...) to be enacted at last during the next french presidency of the EU.

But only a rumor so far, and heard only once.