A Unitary Patent for a (Dis)United Europe: The Long Shadow of History
IIC - International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law: Volume 46, Issue 5 (2015), Page 508-533 DOI 10.1007/s40319-015-0356-6
26 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2015 Last revised: 27 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 1, 2015
This article retraces the history of patent harmonization in Europe and reviews the European Union ‘‘patent package’’ and its approval by the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the light of this history. The article draws on archived and hitherto unused confidential documents to retrace the key institutions and players in the origins and evolution of the European patent unification movement. The study reveals that the EU project was originally led by the Council of Europe and analyzes the reasons why the EU has struggled to develop a coherent model of integration to facilitate realization of the internal market ever since. The historical legacy suggests that a critical turning point was the creation of the European Patent Organization as the leading engine of patent policy in Europe, an autonomous organization which is not subject to judicial oversight by the EU court or meaningful political scrutiny by the European Union and its members. The article concludes with a case study illustrating how the latent difficulties over the relationship between different European institutions and the jurisdiction of European tribunals and courts are manifested today in the unitary patent and the unified patent court.
Keywords: Unitary Patent, Unified Patent Court, European Patent harmonization, Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012, Article 18 TFEU, C 146/13
JEL Classification: K11
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