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ICSTI June News for Members

[CEP, This time I did the unthinkable. I opened up the *.doc file and
then cut and copied its content into this e-mail.] 

Dear Members

Please find attached further news from Executive Director, Barry

Kind regards

Sarah Byrne, Administrator
51, boulevard de Montmorency
75016 Paris, FRANCE
Tel: 33 1 45 25 65 92  Fax: 33 1 42 15 12 62

News for ICSTI Members, June 18th 2001 - two EU Intellectual Property

1. Agreement on a European Patent??

Those of you who were in Munich will have heard Jacques Michel mention
the proposed European Patent and its implications for EPO. Consensus on
several decisive matters regarding the underlying structure of the
proposed Community Patent was reached by ministers meeting at the EU
Internal Market Council of Ministers meeting on 31 May. In summary, the
guidelines agreed upon would provide for:

· a central role to be played by the Munich-based European Patent Office
(EPO) in the granting and administration of Community Patents;
· an important role, also, for the national patent offices, including
the advising of applicants, the reception and forwarding of applications
to the EPO and the dissemination of information on Community Patents;
· applicants remaining free to have applications fully processed by the
· maintenance of costs at a competitive level;
· a percentage of annual renewal fees being distributed among Member
States/national patent offices;
· a jurisdictional system being set up in accordance with Articles 225 a
and 229 a of the EC Treaty as adopted at Nice; and appeals to be heard
by the EC's Court of First Instance.

It was also agreed to request a Diplomatic Conference to be convened to
revise the 1973 European Patent Convention, in order to accommodate the
Community Patent.

Swedish President of the Council, Leif Pagrotsky, said he was greatly
relieved that the EU Ministers had reached this agreement, expressing
his fear that, had they failed to do so, the whole project would have
collapsed. He added: "We have managed to get the process going again and
there is good hope that the Belgian Presidency will be able to conclude
the project in accordance with decisions taken at the summits in Lisbon
and Stockholm."

Related links:
European Commission press release

Swedish Presidency press release "Breakthrough in the patents issue"

2. and an opinion on the validity of an EU Directive on Biotechnology?

In Case C-377/98 currently before the European Court of Justice, the
Kingdom of the Netherlands is seeking the annulment of the Directive on
the legal protection of biotechnological inventions (Directive 98/44),
on the grounds that it infringes the principle of legal certainty, is
incompatible with international obligations (including the TRIPs
Agreement and the European Patent Convention) and breaches fundamental
rights, among other arguments.
Advocate General Jacobs delivered his opinion (on 14 June) that the
action should be dismissed and that the Netherlands should be ordered to
pay the costs of the European Parliament and of the Council. 
Related links: Opinion of Advocate General Jacobs (Case-377/98) 

Howard Flack        http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/Howard.Flack.html
Laboratoire de Cristallographie               Phone: +41 22 702 62 49
24 quai Ernest-Ansermet             mailto:Howard.Flack@cryst.unige.ch
CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland                   Fax: +41 22 702 61 08

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