In my earlier posting I had reported that despite the fact that a political consensus has been reached within Government, including a clause to the effect that the new Bill will properly drop the translation requirement for all European Patents designating Germany which are advertised in the Official Gazette after April 30, 2008, there appears to be absolutely no chance to rush such a Bill through Parliament before May 01.
It was then expected that the new Bill will be published in the Bundesgesetzblatt not earlier than June 2008. Its effects with regard to London Agreement and concerning European Patents having their grant mentioned in the Official Gazette after April 30, 2008, will then be of a retroactive nature.
I did not spot any related legislative initiative in the German Parliament, and a friendly reader of this Blog eventually has made me aware of how the German Government intended to manage that matter:
A few days ago, the Judicial Committee ("Rechtsausschuss") of the lower chamber of the German Parliament ("Bundestag") had published its final report [In German only; sorry] on that issue, and - voilà - the amended text of that bill now comprises Articles 8a and 8b appended to the original text and implementing the measures as prescribed by the London Agreement.
Of course, with regard to its substance the London Agreement is entirely unrelated to IPRED-1. All that is only a trick to speed up the process of rushing through Parliament in a piggyback mode a small snippet of legislation without having to start from scratch with adopting a full new legislative initiative by the German Government. I am even inclined to go as far as to say that the measure taken by German Government and Parliamentarians was almost user-friendly towards interested circles and affected groups of the patent system: They could also have decided to append the implementation clause to any other bill, say, on a bill to amend some details of the German system of pension funds or the like. Only because of the IPRED-1 implementation bill was readily available as a vehicle to also carry the new implementation clause of the London Agreement, the political class in Berlin refrained from attaching that matter to some entirely un-related and non-patent legislative matter.
Last Friday, on April 11, 2008, the lower house of the German Parliament has passed the bill as amended by the Juridical Committee.
Now the bill will be passed to the upper house of the German Parliament ("Bundesrat"). It is generally expected that the law will be promulgated in June 2008 but with retro-active effect as from May 1, 2008. However, if the Bundesrat, where the German Länder are represented, should enter into some deeper controversy about the IPRED-1 bill, then the implementation clause for the London Agreement could be taken hostage and be frozen for some more weeks or even months. I have no precise ideas as to whether or not this is likely to occur. Right holders in the fields of the music or movies industries are always eager to further sharpen such kind of legislative initiatives, and I do not fully understand their lobbying influence in all of the many German Länders.
Anyway, it would be quite embarrassing if Germany could not present an implementation act in force for the London Agreement later this year. Such calamity would certainly create big legal uncertainties for patent holders. And, I think it should not go unnoticed that when browsing the plenary protocol of the session of the German Bundestag of last Friday you might well get the impression that introducing the implementation caluse for the London Agreement was not an emergency repair but business as usual. Not a single mentioning of the first failed attempt to have that clause, and for sure no word of exculpation for the need to urgently do some repair.