On 20 July 2020 the UK made a statement in Parliament that it had withdrawn its ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. As noted on the Unified Patent Court website the UK also deposited a withdrawal notification with the Council Secretariat. The UPC Preparatory Committee has stated it will now discuss the consequences of the UK withdrawal and agree a way forward.
Given the UK Government’s view of the CJEU, the statement doesn’t come as a huge surprise though it will presumably be a disappointment for those UPC supporters who were holding out hope that the UK and the other participants would work out some way for the UK to stay in the system.
The UK’s withdrawal from the UPC is, of course, not the only issue to hit the unified patent court project this year as the German Constitutional Court found that the German ratification legislation was unconstitutional.
What comes next for the unitary patent project is unclear. While the system still has its supporters who continue to say that the system could go live as early as [Readers should insert today’s date plus 6-12 months] there are a number of matters that are unclear, namely:
- Is the UK’s withdrawal notification sufficient? The UPC Agreement does not have any withdrawal provisions but the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties does provide mechanisms for withdrawal from treaties with no withdrawal provisions. Whether the UK’s withdrawal is currently effective may be unclear however and may require amendment of the Protocol to the Agreement on the UPC on provisional application.
- Where will the London seat of the Central Division be relocated to? Although the provision governing when the UPC Agreement comes into effect does not mention the UK (see Article 89 UPCA), Article 7 which relates to the Court of First Instance does explicitly mention the UK and Annex II to the Agreement details the technical split in cases between London, Paris and Munich. Will the UPC Agreement require amendment to remove the references to London and, if not, will other interested countries (e.g. the Netherlands, Italy) be happy for the system to come into effect without first dealing with this issue?
- How attractive will the unitary patent system without the UK be for applicants? Also, will the renewal fees for the Unitary Patent need revising in light of the UK’s departure?
The UK announcement is the latest in a line of setbacks for the system. IPcopy remembers the pan-European Intellectual Property Summit way back in December 2012 where the keynote speech suggested that all the stops would be pulled out in order to allow the first unitary patent to be granted in Spring 2014(!) and yet here we are, some 6 years beyond that point, with no real end in sight for the ratification process.
Mark Richardson 8 September 2020
IPcopy understands that the EPO’s pilot project for oral proceedings by videoconference before opposition divisions is to receive an upgrade from 14th September 2020 to allow multi party hearings and interpreters.
From 14th September and until at least the end of 2020 oppositions with a single opponent with no interpreters will be conducted under the Skype for Business platform. Oppositions with multiple opponents and/or interpreters will be conducted on the Zoom platform. (more…)
With the Coronavirus pandemic dominating the headlines you might have assumed that Brexit was all finished. However, there’s still plenty to be aware of as far as the UK’s departure from the EU is concerned. So, here are 10 things you need to know about Brexit and Intellectual Property. (more…)
As a trainee patent attorney, I have been curious about the inventions that may arise as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. There have already been advances in healthcare directly related to the medical emergency, such as improved ventilators and face masks, and there will hopefully be a novel vaccine to end the calamity. However, with the majority of the population having spent the last few months stuck at home under UK lockdown, with little capacity to socialise and an uncertain future ahead, it would come as no surprise if some people have used the time to innovate.
Of course, the current pandemic is certainly not the first time that inventions have emerged from significant events in history. (more…)
Branding has a very important role to play in any industry. However, it is crucial in the field of precision medicine, which is by its very nature, personal. For this reason brand names in the precision medicine field should resonate with people (think ‘hearts and minds’).
A brand name that speaks positively to the public will help you to earn consumer loyalty and trust in what is an extremely fast growing and competitive industry.
It is also particularly important that trade marks in the precision medicine field are selected with care owing to the potential implications of confusion arising if one brand were to be mistaken for another.
This article discusses some of the key recommendations when it comes to branding and trade marks with a particular focus on the field of precision medicine. (more…)
As the old saying goes, a few well-chosen emojis paint a thousand words. To celebrate World Emoji Day, and the joy of all things emoji, we’ve compiled a few thoughts on the topic.
From ground-breaking technology that could be straight off Star Trek, to applications that might transform our every-day consumer experience, via a few light-hearted detours: here are a dozen patents to illustrate the diversity of 3D printing applications…
On 1 January 2020 the new Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal (“RPBA”) came into force, affecting substantially all(1) appeals pending on, or filed after 1 January 2020. The revised rules have three main aims: i) to increase the efficiency of the appeals procedure; ii) to improve predictability for parties; and iii) to harmonise the approach of the Boards (particularly in regard to the admissibility of amendments to a party’s case). (more…)
Administering global industrial design portfolios just got a little bit easier: The EUIPO becomes a Depositing Office for the Digital Access Service for Industrial Designs from 11 July 2020.
I’ve tried really hard to come up with a title for this piece that does justice to its subject, but I’m not sure I’ve nailed it… maybe I need to admit that there’s just no way to make design portfolio administration and priority-claiming processes sound sexy. But I promise this is some truly excellent news for registered design filers. I felt tangible relief – and yes maybe even excitement* – when I stumbled upon this hidden snippet: From the 11 July 2020 the EUIPO will become a Depositing Office for WIPO’s Digital Access Service (DAS) for Industrial Designs, which relieves quite a significant administrative burden on big design filers that whose registered designs start their life at the EUIPO. An opportunity to put our collective feet up for a moment, and let DAS do some of the work for us…