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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday July 25 2020, @05:13PM   Printer-friendly
from the UPC-seal-of-approval dept.

brexit means brexit

UK formally abandons Europe's Unified Patent Court, Germany plans to move forward nevertheless:

The UK has formally ditched the Unified Patent Court (UPC), a project to create a single pan-European patent system that would fix the confusing mess of contradictory laws currently in place.

In a written statement in the House of Commons on Monday, the British undersecretary for science, research and innovation Amanda Solloway noted that: "Today, by means of a Note Verbale, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has withdrawn its ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court."

The reason is, of course Brexit. "In view of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, the United Kingdom no longer wishes to be a party to the Unified Patent Court system. Participating in a court that applies EU law and is bound by the CJEU would be inconsistent with the Government's aims of becoming an independent self-governing nation," she said.

[...] The whole idea of the UPC has been fought for over a decade now, making many its adherents borderline fanatical in making it a reality, even more so given frequent setbacks. In their unerring support, however, many seem willing to overlook or turn a blind eye to serious problems, not least of which is the mess that is the European Patent Office (EPO).

[...] The EPO is, of course, a big fan of the UPC and insists the UK leaving is a mere trifle to the larger European dream of a single patent system; a system that would give it significantly more power:

"These economic benefits for European companies and especially SMEs will not be affected by the announcement of the United Kingdom," it insisted in its submission to the German government.

"Even without the UK, the UP package will lead to significant simplification and cost reduction for the companies of the participating EU member states, which is also largely recognized by European companies."


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  • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Sunday July 26 2020, @07:26PM (8 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Sunday July 26 2020, @07:26PM (#1026702)

    >And the present day EU is a confederation FWIW.

    It is, and it's not working that well, nor does it seem like it's going to survive in its present form for too long. It's just like the US under the AoC: it managed to hang on for 12 years before they finally gave up because it was so ineffective. I predict the same will happen with the EU; they're going to have to make the central government stronger to keep the union together, or they'll just break apart, with Brexit already being the tip of the iceberg.

    Basically, with politics like this, you have to decide whether you want more unity or more independence. There's benefits to both, and downsides. Unity = strength: you don't see any tiny little independent nations that have lots of economic clout. There are a few that manage to do well for themselves because they have powerful allies and rich natural resources (Norway is a big example here; if it weren't for all their oil/gas wealth they'd be a backwater and would probably be joining the EU), but most small, independent countries don't really do that well economically because they're just too small. The US is an example of the converse: it's very large, and uses that size (population), along with the natural resources that come with controlling that much land area, to create an enormous amount of power on the world stage, and then use that power to create even more economic benefits through controlling trade, and using its massive military power to suppress competition and keep trade on its terms and also have the world's reserve currency. But there's a cost to that unity: lots of internal friction between different interests and political groups inside, which are currently threatening to rip the country apart. The US just break up and become 50 different countries, with a few of those combining perhaps, but it wouldn't have remotely as much power as the whole, and China and Russia would end up becoming the new dominant powers on the planet. The EU countries by themselves wouldn't have much power to stop Russian aggression, which is why they need unity, but the way they're going about it now just isn't very effective and various members are feeling disenfranchised, threatening to destroy the union.

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday July 27 2020, @01:41AM (7 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 27 2020, @01:41AM (#1026907) Journal
    I agree, but only because they're trying for a much tighter union without getting enough people on board or reigning in various countries. A trade union would have worked out because failings or intrigues in one country don't endanger the whole thing.
    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday July 27 2020, @09:07PM (6 children)

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday July 27 2020, @09:07PM (#1027302)

      A simple trade union is what they had before, called the Schengen Zone. It was an improvement over separate customs borders between every country, but there was still a lot of internal friction because of the lack of a common currency and more harmonization of regulations between member states. Obviously, that wasn't good enough for them, which is why they formed the EU instead.

      The root of the problem is that too many people want the huge economic benefits that come from unity, but they don't want to make the sacrifices to sovereignty that are required by it. You can't have it both ways. If you want independence and sovereignty, then you can't be part of a union, and everyone's going to have to negotiate trade deals separately with you, and you'll always be paying fees for currency exchange and customs for every economic transaction you make outside your country (which is going to be most transactions when your country is small and not self-sufficient and has to trade for everything). If you want the benefits that come from free trade with other member states, and a shared currency that's a heavyweight on the international stage, then you have to give up your sovereignty.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday July 27 2020, @11:23PM (5 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 27 2020, @11:23PM (#1027384) Journal

        The root of the problem is that too many people want the huge economic benefits that come from unity, but they don't want to make the sacrifices to sovereignty that are required by it. You can't have it both ways.

        Actually you can. Unity doesn't magically provide economic benefits and its absence doesn't magically take them away. Here, the Schengen Area has provided most of the economic benefits of the present EU, the only real exceptions being the common currency and removal of tariffs (I don't include the state of peace in Europe either since it came about well before the EU did), neither which needs the authority of the EU to implement. So we have a lot of unity looking for a purpose and not finding it yet.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday July 28 2020, @08:59PM (4 children)

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday July 28 2020, @08:59PM (#1027774)

          Here, the Schengen Area has provided most of the economic benefits of the present EU, the only real exceptions being the common currency and removal of tariffs

          You mention those as if they're small things, and they just aren't. Having no tariffs and a common currency is absolutely necessary for being a world power. There's a reason the Norwegian Krone isn't a major world currency, and the American Dollar and the Euro are.

          neither which needs the authority of the EU to implement

          Absolutely wrong. You can't just create a shared currency and use it; you have to have a central government and a central bank to control the currency and set monetary policy. This is the whole reason there was a Eurozone crisis a few years ago: member states were bickering over the monetary policy, with certain states (like Greece and Portugal) wanting a very different policy from economically stronger states.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday July 28 2020, @11:02PM (3 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 28 2020, @11:02PM (#1027823) Journal

            You mention those as if they're small things

            I called them "real exceptions".

            Absolutely wrong. You can't just create a shared currency and use it

            Actually, yes, you can. It's not rocket science.

            you have to have a central government and a central bank to control the currency and set monetary policy.

            The central bank is the central government for the currency. They're not that hard to set up and don't take a lot of sovereignty.

            This is the whole reason there was a Eurozone crisis a few years ago: member states were bickering over the monetary policy, with certain states (like Greece and Portugal) wanting a very different policy from economically stronger states.

            Conflict of interest always is a thing. It doesn't matter the degree of unity.

            • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday July 29 2020, @12:25AM (2 children)

              by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday July 29 2020, @12:25AM (#1027889)

              >Actually, yes, you can. It's not rocket science.

              Do you have any real-world examples? If not, then I reject your assertion.

              >The central bank is the central government for the currency. They're not that hard to set up and don't take a lot of sovereignty.

              And who runs the central bank? What kind of government is going to sign up to use a currency they have zero control over? I can think of one example: Zimbabwe (they use the American Dollar). That's not a very good example: that's a very troubled country that had extreme hyperinflation and switched to the USD for stability.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday July 29 2020, @02:36AM (1 child)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 29 2020, @02:36AM (#1027952) Journal

                Do you have any real-world examples?

                Wikipedia claims over four thousand private currencies. And there's the digital currencies which have been used for substantial trading and usually have no central bank in the first place.