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- 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…)
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.