Thursday, March 10, 2011

European Union (EU) Not Giving Up on Pan-European Patent Court as European Commission Moves Forward with Legislation Plans In Spite of Legal Barriers

As reported on March 10, 2011 by Deutsche Welle at

EU member states agree on common patent laws, Italy and Spain sit out

the European Commission is not giving up on a "European and Community Patent Court", a planned pan-European court which just two days ago was strongly negated by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as impinging on national courts, as we reported at LawPundit.

25 Member Nations of the EU have now approved plans for such a court (with "no's" from Italy and Spain), thereby giving the power to the European Commission to draft the respective legislation, to be subsequently presented to the European Parliament for a vote.

Hence, in spite of the ECJ decision, a pan-European patent court is still in the works.

European Court of Justice (ECJ) Delivers a Strong "No" to a Pan-European Patent Court as Breaching EU Framework and Impinging on National Courts

Simon Petersen at has the story at:

ECJ warns pan-European patent court would breach EU framework,

"Long-mooted plans for a pan-European patent court have suffered another setback after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) this week stated that such a policy would conflict with the EU's constitution."
Read the whole thing here.

The "America Invents Act" S. 23 Passed by U.S. Senate 95-5 and Now Goes to the House

Given its overwhelming 95-5 passage in the U.S. Senate, (see Patent Reform Passes Major Senate Hurdle at the Patents Post Grant Blog), one might think it to be likely that the Patent Reform Act S.23 would have a good chance to get through the House of Representatives, but Edward Wyatt at the New York Times in Senate Passes Bill to Change Patent System and Pricing says it isn't so, and that it is clear that the House will have its own version of the legislation needed.

We did like this paragraph of Wyatt:
"During debate on the bill, Senator Leahy repeatedly referred to the bill as being the first reform of the patent system in 60 years. He said, “A patent system developed for a 1952 economy — before the Internet, before cellphones, before computers, before photocopiers, even before the I.B.M. Selectric typewriter — needs to be reconsidered in light of 21st-century realities, while staying true to the consistent constitutional imperative of encouraging innovation and invention.”"
We definitely agree with the need for substantial patent reform, although the proposed change from a "first to invent" to a "first to file" system may unjustly favor those who have the money to file patents, which requires the investment of thousands of dollars. A penniless inventor with a great invention is out of luck until he finds the cash to file his patent application, and by then, word may have gotten around, and a patent can then be easily stolen. I am not sure that is the kind of "patent reform" the system needs.

Patently-O lists some of the main provisions of the Senate bill, an Act which in our opinion is far, far short of what is actually required to reform the patent system as needed.

The Patent Law Practice Center has a list of sources on the blogosphere who have commented on the so-called "Leahy Bill", as the "America Invents Act" has three main sponsors in the senate, led by Pat Leahy (D-VT), plus Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Jon Kyl (R-AZ).

Some progress in patent legislation is essential, so that this passage in the Senate could be viewed as a good sign, regardless of whether one agrees fully with all of the provisions or not.

You can't have everything and some progress is better than nothing. At least the Congress recognizes that something has to be done in terms of patent reform.

Labor Union Debate in Iowa Reminds of Commonwealth v. Hunt (1842) and the Legalization of Labor Unions

Following short-sighted short-term goals and thereby to damage long-standing long-term rights has always been a bad strategy, and the State of Iowa in the United States is right in the middle of that scenario.

As Jason Clayworth writes at the Des Moines Register Staff Blogs:
"House File 525, the bill being debated, would allow public employees to act as “free agents” to sidestep union representation. It additionally would prohibit unions from having any say regarding layoffs....

Republicans say it is a step to helping Iowa maintain budgetary equilibrium."
It all reminds us a bit of Commonwealth v. Hunt, 45 Mass. 111 (1842).

The idea that budgets or the economy can be improved by rolling the clock back by decades or by centuries is just simple legislative idiocy.

The problem in America is not that the unions have been so successful that they have injured the economy or have made it difficult to meet government budgets.

Rather, and quite the contrary, American unions have been much too weak in allowing half the economy and the nation's know-how to be transferred offshore to foreign masters paying dirt wages to non-unionized workers, and in the process also contributing thereby to the sins of child labor and abysmal working conditions in developing countries, sins that generations of Americans fought valiantly against.

Going after American unions at this stage in the game is a rather typical move for politicians by which the blame for things is shoved off on innocent scapegoats who have had little to do with the present economic malaise in America, the responsibility for which is to be sought among those who run the economy, not those who work for it.

The solution in Iowa as in the rest of the United States is not to go BACKWARD, but rather to gather strength and to go FORWARD, as hard as that may be.

Nostalgia is not a good way to run a government or an economy.

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