This is IPcopy’s original Q&A post on the unitary patent package (published 20 December 2012). A more recent and updated version of this post, which was published on 10 April 2013, can be found here.
After last week’s vote in the European parliament (Note: this article was published 20 December 2012), it seems that the unitary European patent really is here to stay. Many of the finer details are yet to be sorted out, and there is plenty of speculation in the patent world right now as to how things will pan out over the next few years. But there’s also plenty that we now know for sure about how the unitary patent will work, and how it might begin to affect your IP decisions, so here on IPCopy are the answers to your burning questions (grab a hot beverage of your choice and get comfy – it’s a long one…!):
Over at IPCopy we’ve been absorbing the latest version of the agreement on the unified patent court, which you can find here.
We’ll be posting an informative Q&A-style blog entry in the next few days, but in the meantime, we’ve noticed an interesting quirk in the fine print (maybe, have a look below).
Following in the footsteps of many other patent offices around the world, Australia has put in place an amendment to the Patents Act 1990 that will come into force on 15 April 2013. In a perceived effort to ‘raise the bar’ of patentability – a catchy but meaningless phrase coined by the European Patent Office a few years ago – a number of new standards have been introduced into the statute. The new measures include a more rigorous approach to examination of inventive step that increases the scope for IPO Examiners to consider obviousness from the perspective of a non-Australian skilled person. There is also a significant reduction in the term for ensuring the application proceeds to acceptance, from 21 months from issuance of the first Examination Report down to a fleeting12 months. The expected effect of these measures is to make it harder to get the broad scope of patent protection that is currently expected by many applicants in Australia.
The advice issuing from many Australian patent attorney firms is for applicants who have pending applications in Australia to request examination before 15 April 2013 in order to benefit from the current more lenient standards. Presumably, those with pending International patent applications could also enter the Australian National Phase early as well if Australia is seen as a key market.
Last week the pan-European Intellectual Property Summit (IP Summit) was held in Brussels and the first morning of the summit saw a number of discussions regarding the unitary patent and unified patent court. A common theme that seemed to crop up from anyone representing the official EU position was that the proposed unitary patent protection (UPP) package isn’t perfect but it’ll do! Hmm.
The opening keynote introduction was from Kerstin Jorna from the European Commission (Director, Intellectual Property – Internal Market & Services DG) who likened the UPP package to a cake that doesn’t look like the picture in the recipe book when you remove it from the oven. According to Ms Jorna in such circumstances we should ask ourselves whether the cake is fit to be served to our family! Apparently the UPP cake is fit to be eaten. Please insert your own joke here about too many cooks in the kitchen….
The UK Intellectual Property Offfice on the other hand celebrates 160 years this year and this IPcopywriter believes it is a case of 160 years young rather than 160 years old.
Now, in Scotland, a new Act of Sederunt before the Court of Session (the supreme civil court of Scotland) has introduced a number of procedural reforms relating to intellectual property disputes in Scotland.