A few posts ago, Prashant had blogged about media reports of a settlement being finally reached in the long-standing India-EU dispute over in-transit drug seizures. Apparently the EU had agreed to amend its laws so that goods in transit could no longer be seized for patent infringement. However, there are a few things a little off about these reports it seems!
Firstly, government officials on both sides, Indian as well as EU have apparently expressed surprise at these media reports claiming this, as Reuters reports here. They quote an Indian official as stating “It is not possible for me to confirm that report. That is not my impression. We continue with our consultations and we reserve our rights to ask for a panel” There also have been no EU officials who have gone on the record to state that the issue has been settled.
Secondly, as has been pointed out in the comments section of that post, it is not possible for the executive branch to ‘guarantee’ that there will be an amendment in the Customs Regulation. The European Commission, which is representing the EU on the international stage, has a limited role with respect to legislation and amendment is limited to proposing it. There will certainly be persuasive power, but the ‘promising’ of an amendment does not really mean anything. It’s neither appropriate to make such promises, nor so to believe them.
And finally, the Nokia case which deals precisely with the interpretation of the controversial provision in question here(we reported on earlier here) has been referred to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary hearing, and is thus before the ECJ currently.
The above reasons seem to point towards a massive goof up with the media earlier reporting that the settlement had finally been agreed on! It’s yet to be seen what happens with this. In the mean time, it seems Prashant’s prior post is still the most current (and verified) update that we have.