Recently, a copy of the 15th draft rules of procedure of the Unified Patent Court, were released. We now understand from the Bristows UPC website that this version of the 15th draft rules has not been approved by the rules committee and may be subject to further change. We will keep you updated on the official 15th draft and will link to it on IPCopy as soon as we can get our mitts on it. Before it became apparent that the circulated version was unofficial, IPCopy put together a tracked-changes version of the Rules comparing the fourteenth and (unofficial) fifteenth drafts, so you could spot the revisions easily.
We’ve decided to keep this tracked-changes version available on IPCopy for now, and when the official 15th draft is released we’ll be taking another look. For the time being, and on the understanding that some of these changes might be undone in the official version, here’s a look at the changes that caught IPCopy’s collective eye…
IPCopy welcomes K2 IP Attorney Adam Brocklehurst for his inaugural blog post, which we hope will be the first of many! Adam was our reporter-on-the-ground at the Westminster Legal Policy Forum on 30 April 2013, and you can enjoy his whistle-stop-tour of the event here.
The Westminster Legal Policy Forum gathered in Whitehall this week for a wide-ranging discussion of hot IP policy and political topics. IP Copy was there to pick up any interesting tidbits. Headliners were HHJ Birss, Baroness Wilcox, Sean Dennehey, representatives from the European Commision, and various speakers from practice and industry.
At a CIPA webinar on the Unitary Patent on 15 March 2013, a comment from a member of the panel took us rather by surprise: a suggestion was made that there is no provision in the UPC Agreement for post-grant amendment.
This IPCopy writer promptly dove for her well-worn copies of the Regulation and the Agreement, streams of obscure patent doomsday situations running through her head, and words of disbelief cascading in the direction of her unfortunate office-mates (such are the hazards of an open plan)*. Could this be true?
Well, yes and no, it seems… (more…)
Back in December we posted an in-depth Q&A about the unitary patent package, taking you on a whistle-stop tour of the unitary patent, the unified patent court, and what it might mean for patent owners and IP professionals.
Much of the picture remains the same, but there have been a few changes in recent months, and IPCopy has updated its Q&A for your reading pleasure. So, just in case you didn’t enjoy it enough the first time round, welcome to the Unitary Patent Q&A 2: The Update…
Proponents of the unitary patent package have talked long and hard about the benefits they hope it will bring for patentees. The advantages that have been discussed so far have been primarily financial, the grand plan being that reduced translation requirements, a single renewal fee and central litigation will all lead to lower costs in obtaining, maintaining and enforcing your patent.
The ins and outs these financial advantageous, and the wry eyebrows being raised by IP professionals across Europe by way of response, could make for a very long blog post indeed, and we won’t be tackling this one today.
Instead, we have been considering whether the unitary patent might offer an advantage in terms of the actual scope of protection that it provides, specifically with regard to contributory infringement.
The newly be-logoed UK Intellectual Property Office has recently released a Discussion Paper on the possibility of introducing an Appointed Person for Patents at the IPO (I promised ipcopymark I wouldn’t mention that on an initial glance he read this as an Anointed Person for Patents…so you didn’t hear it from me…), and has invited comments from one and all.
Presently, the route of appeal from any decision of the IPO on patents is generally to the Patents Court (part of the High Court, or to the Court of Session in Scotland). If an Appointed Person for Patents is indeed Anointed, this would provide a new low-cost route of Appeal for patent decisions issued by the IPO. The decision of the Appointed Person would be final, and no further appeal to the High Court would be possible. (more…)
Before the Unitary Patent Package can take effect there are various legal obstacles that need to be cleared. Some decisions are still to be made (the scale of fees being one that IPCcopy is particularly keen to hear about), and some legal hoops are still to be jumped (ratification, and amendment to the Brussels I Regulation being the most significant).
So, what remains to be dealt with before the first unitary patent can be granted, and when can we realistically expect the way to be cleared?
Here, IPCopy breaks down the procedures that remain, and takes a look at the word on the street regarding the likely processes and timescales for each.
Over at IPKat, Amerikat has been looking at the transitional provisions of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement and considering an interesting question. In this post, Amerikat has been considering Article 83, which gives a patentee the possibility to opt out of the ‘exclusive competence’ of the UPC if the patent was filed before the end of the transitional period, and to opt back in again at any time.
In brief, her question is this: does opting out of the ‘exclusive competence’ of the UPC still leave the UPC with non-exclusive competence, or does it leave the UPC with no competence at all (pun entirely unintentional)?
At IPCopy, we threw around some thoughts on this when we first noted quite how long the UK courts could still have competence as a result of Article 83 (Draft Article 58 back when we posted this), and we thought this was an opportunity to share them with you, and Amerikat! (more…)
This IPCopy writer suspects she’s not the only avid xkcd follower in the IP world (for the uninitiated, click here, and say goodbye to the rest of your afternoon).
In a particularly beautiful piece of linguistic manipulation, xkcd recently explained the workings of the Saturn V rocket using only the thousand most commonly-used words in the English language, in its comic entitled ‘up-goer five’. Proof, if ever it were needed, that in the hands of a creative mind, the most complex ideas can be expressed using the simplest terms.
It strikes this IPCopy writer that this entertaining concept is at the heart of the patent drafting process. Restricting yourself to a vocabulary of one thousand words may not win you awards for claim drafting any time soon, but the process could be a very useful (as well as entertaining) training exercise.
You may have noticed that over here at IPCopy, we’ve been playing with the Unitary Patent Regulation, and testing it to its limits. We’ve already noted some quirks, including the fact that a patentee could potentially opt out of the unified patent court until 2047, and that if an infringement action is brought by an exclusive licensee, bifurcation is all but forced on the defendant.
But this is perhaps the one that’s baked IPCopy’s collective noodle the most so far: assuming that ratification (of the unified patent court agreement) proceeds in time for the Unitary Patent Regulation to come into force 1 January 2014, it appears to us that around one third of the patents that grant that year, and potentially even as many as half, will not actually be eligible for unitary patent protection*.
“How can this be?” I hear you cry! Well it’s all Malta’s “fault”, and here’s why… [we cannot help but think we've missed something in the analysis below so feel free to chip in with your thoughts in the comments section!]