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The 16th draft of the Rules of Procedure of the Unified Patent Court has been published and can be found here (16th draft of Rules of Procedure). Helpfully the latest draft has been prepared as a marked-up document which means the amendments are easy to spot.
There’s a fair amount of red lined comments in this draft which IPcopy will take some time to digest. However, a few points of interest are noted below.
Along with all the other preparations that are required to implement the unitary patent package in the various participating member states, rumblings are often heard regarding the potential location of the local and regional divisions of the Unified Patent Court. This week IPcopy has heard/seen material relating to a potential local division in Ireland and also the possible setting up of a regional “Nordic-Baltic” division in Sweden, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania (Thanks to reader Hans van de Heuvel for the heads up regarding the Nordic-Baltic news). (more…)
Members of IPcopy are always on the look out for snippets of unitary patent and unified patent court news and it was during such a search this week that we came across a conference report of a Unitary Patent Package Conference that was held in Amsterdam on 6 February 2014.
The full report of the conference can be found here. Having skimmed through the conference summary we noted a few points of interest which are detailed below. In particular we were interested to see what are apparently the first potential figures for the fee for opting a European patent out from the exclusive competence of the Unified Patent Court (the “opt-out fee”). These comments came from someone who is presumably familiar with the matter, Kevin Mooney of the Drafting Committee for the Rules of Procedure of the UPC. (more…)
Last week Emily took a look at the EPO’s draft rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection. As noted in last week’s post the document appeared to be a work in progress (it was dated August 2013) and in the comments section to that post Antonio Pizzoli (Googling Wizard, First Class) pointed us at an updated version of the EPO’s draft rules which can be accessed here.
The August draft ran to 22 rules. The updated version only discusses draft rules 1 to 11. Furthermore, we note that the updated version introduces a new rule 4 meaning that there are some numbering changes.
We’ve had a quick look at the updated document and note that there has been some progress on some of the issues raised in Emily’s review. The following areas in particular interested us: (more…)
IPcopy commentator Antonio Pizzoli has pointed us in the direction of the EPO’s draft rules relating to the Unitary Patent Regulation which you can find here (thanks Antonio!). IPcopy hadn’t come across this document before, and it makes for an interesting, if slightly worrying, read.
Clearly it is a work in progress, and the draft is peppered with interesting comments and alternative proposals.
As we previously reported (here), Italy signed the unified patent court (UPC) agreement on 19 February 2013. This means that there are 25 countries (out of a possible 28) who are signed up to the UPC agreement (Spain, Poland and Croatia have not currently signed).
Italy, of course, is not part of the enhanced cooperation regulations that the unitary patent itself will be delivered under. If Italy, along with the other required countries, end up ratifying the UPC agreement and the unitary patent package comes into effect, Italy will be part of the court system but unitary patents will not have effect in Italy.
That couldn’t possibly cause any issues, could it?
So far, Austria is the only state to have ratified the UPC Agreement, with the remaining UPC countries being slow to take the second spot on the ratification podium. But unconfirmed rumours (with thanks to Michael Carter of Wragge & Co for the heads-up) are now circulating that Malta may have ratified the UPC Agreement.
An article in the Malta Independent explains that the Agreement was discussed in the Maltese parliament, and states that “PN MP Jason Azzopardi said that he had signed the ratification on behalf of a PN-led government.”
A delve into the Maltese Parliament’s website reveals that yesterday’s proceedings (21 January 2014) included a debate on Motion 78 -Agreement on a Unified Patent Court – Presented by the Parliamentary Secretary for Justice. Among the text of the motion (thanks Google tranlsate - my Maltese just isn’t what it used to be) is the statement that “Malta has now passed the ratification process , to be carried out in accordance with article 3 of the Act on Ratification Treaties ( Cap 304 ) Authorizing the Maltese Parliament to ratify the Agreement ( Patent Court Industrial unified ) Unified Patent Court ( UPC ) which was signed on 19 February 2013“.
We haven’t been able to confirm the ratification just yet, but all signs indicate that Malta has indeed ratified the Agreement and taken the number 2 spot…
Emily Weal 22 January 2014
Malta, Spain and Virgin v Zodiac: Why ignoring the Malta problem will delegate the decision to the EPO
There has been a resurgence of Virgin v Zodiac in IP news recently, owing to a UK Court of Appeal Decision that upheld Mr Justice Floyd’s High Court decision in full (see, for example, Amerikat’s IPKat article here, and an Article in The Lawyer here [with which IPcopy heartily disagrees]).
Virgin v Zodiac was, of course, very important in overturning the Unilin principal relating to awards of damages. However, another important issue was caught up in this case, which is now catching the eyes of IP reporters, and which has some surprising relevance to Unified Patent Court matters: the UK patent that was the subject of this litigation should never have existed, and only came into being as a result of a procedural error made by the EPO’s Examining Division. Specifically, the Examining Division failed to notice that the Applicant had explicitly asked that the UK not be designated when the European application had been filed, and had erroneously given the application a European designation. (more…)
As IPcopy covered back in June last year, Spain has launched further attacks against the unitary patent system at the CJEU. There are several bases for the complaint including breach of the principles of autonomy and the issue of delegation of powers to the European Patent Office whose acts are not subject to judicial review.
At the always entertaining Wragge & Co. annual patent seminar in December last year, the Virgin v. Zodiac case that recently passed through the UK’s Supreme Court was discussed in the context of res judicata and the end of the Unilin principles. However, this case may also illustrate the issues that can arise when the EPO gets something wrong and there’s no means for appeal.
The Supreme Court case centered on Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd’s attempts to recover damages exceeding £49 million (!) for the infringement of a European patent that no longer existed in the form said to have been infringed.
What is particularly interesting about the Virgin/Zodiac case in the context of the unitary patent system and Spain’s challenge to that system is that it relates to a patent that should never have had effect in the UK were it not for an administrative mistake by the EPO!