The Agreement on a Unified Patent Court has been available for some time now (and can be found here). One thing that’s struck me as slightly odd is that the text of the agreement doesn’t apparently come with its own contents section. Maybe the idea is that the agreement should be the last thing we look at before we go to sleep and the first thing we pick up when we jump out of bed in the morning so that we know the whole document back to front…… Maybe. Alternatively, it may just be an oversight.
Well, today, ready for you to download, print off, decorate, laminate and share with your friends is the IPcopy version of the contents section of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. I know, I know, it’s like all your Christmases have come at once.
Contents section only can be found here.
Consolidated version of the Agreement including contents page and corrected pages is here.
Mark Richardson 22 May 2013
[Many thanks to Jodie Everett and Danielle Ménage-Jensen for their help in preparing these documents]
- The timetable for the unitary patent system to “go live” appears to be slipping. Remember that when the regulations and UPC agreement were being finalised it was the desire of the European Commission to see the first unitary patent grant in Spring 2014. However, we now understand that the UK is unlikely to be in a position to ratify the agreement until mid 2015. Following the 13th state to ratify the UPC Agreement, the system will come into being 4 months later. So, on the basis of the current UK timetable, the earliest the unitary patent system will come into effect is late 2015/early 2016. [That's assuming that 12 other states have already ratified by this point] (more…)
On Wednesday, Her Majesty the Queen (Head of State of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms and Bond Girl) delivered the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament and set out the measures the government wants to get through Parliament in the year ahead.
As well as bills relating to immigration and the new high speed rail link, the Queen’s Speech introduced the Intellectual Property Bill.
In a recent post we looked at a consultation from the UKIPO which was proposing superfast patent processing. That’s not the only consultation that is running at the UKIPO and there is a further one entitled “Fast Track Opposition Procedure. Trade Mark Tribunal”. This consultation is running until 17 May 2013 and seeks the views of users and potential users of the UK national registration system about the introduction of a lower cost “fast track” opposition based on earlier registered or pending marks.
As noted in the consultation a fast track opposition process may differ from the existing procedures in a number of ways, namely:
- Lower opposition fee
- Grounds limited to s.5(1)/5(2)
- Limit to the number of earlier marks that can be relied upon
- If over 5 years old, proof of use to be filed with the notice of opposition using a pro-forma statement with exhibits
- Leave required for either party to file any further evidence
- Decisions normally from the papers
- Introduction of refundable appeal fee large enough to discourage frivolous appeals
The full reasoning behind the above proposals can be found in the consultation document but a few issues with the proposals, as highlighted by our trade mark team, are noted below:
In the film Iron Man 2, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) gets into an argument with his friend Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) who, after a bout of CGI enhanced fighting, makes off with one of his Iron Man suits.
Shortly after this, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) who is CEO of Stark Industries is seen berating someone on the telephone about the suit that has gone missing. During the call she says the following (as near as I recall):
“Illegal seizure of trademarked property”
“Don’t tell me we have the best patent lawyers in the country and then not pursue this”
So, what’s wrong with these statements? (Other than the fact I picked up on them and thought to write an article about it!).
As noted in an earlier post Spain has recently filed a further challenge against the unitary patent system. That wasn’t, however, their first crack at bringing down the system. Back in May 2011, Spain and Italy filed actions (C-274/11 and C-295/11 respectively) against the Council of the European Union attacking the use of the enhanced cooperation procedure that underpins the unitary patent system. Today comes news of the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in respect of the earlier Italian/Spanish challenge.
Having (probably) failed in their attempt with Italy to derail the unitary patent package by poking the enhanced cooperation procedure with “the soft cushions” (see here), Spain has now wheeled out “the Comfy chair” and is bringing two further cases in front of the CJEU to try and stop the unitary patent system from going forward. (Those of you wondering why I’ve suddenly developed a soft furnishings fixation are respectfully referred here.)
Yes, Spain has now filed actions C-146/13 and C-147/13 at the CJEU against the European Parliament and the European Council (against Council Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 [implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection] & Council Regulation (EU) No 1260/2012 of 17 December 2012 [implementing translation arrangements] – see here).
So what does this mean for the prospects of the system?
IPcopy took a quick look at the Twitter Innovator’s patent agreement recently and concluded that there was probably enough wiggle room in the agreement to allow Twitter to start legal actions against most people should they want to do so (see the earlier post here).
One thing that struck us at the time of writing the earlier article was the relative lack of Twitter patents and patent applications (we could only find three such patent documents and one of these belonged to TweetDeck).
Now comes news that Twitter has been working on another patent filing which reads much more closely onto their core business. This now granted US patent (US 8401009) can be found here. So, I hear you ask (probably), “How come you didn’t see that coming”? Good question.
Wragge & Co held an excellent breakfast seminar yesterday (lovely bacon butties!) on the Unified Patent Court. The seminar provided a good overview of the unitary patent package as it stands today as well as highlighting outstanding issues and areas of interest.
One issue that was raised was the possibility of a “sunrise” provision being introduced to give patentees of nationally validated EP patents a protected period after the system goes live in which to register an opt out of the competence of the unified patent court.
Such a sunrise provision is being discussed because of the possibility of tactical revocation actions being brought by third parties against such nationally validated EP patents in order to fix those patents within the competence of the unified patent court before an opt out (from the UPC) has been filed by the patent proprietor.