Today we have a quick round up of some unitary patent related news items that have cropped up in the last week or so. Read on for news of the progress of ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement in Belgium, two patent bills in Sweden, a statement from the EPO’s Economic and Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB) on the unitary patent package and the Brussels I regulation.
Over the last few months, Belgium has been progressing a law to authorise their ratification of the UPC Agreement. On 23 April 2014 the Belgian Chamber of Representatives voted to adopt this law (see paper here). The next stage in the process is Royal Assent followed by deposition of their ratification instrument in Brussels.
The UK’s Intellectual Property Bill is also at the Royal Assent stage but whereas the UK is not expected to complete the process until 2015, Belgium is expected to get Royal Assent and make their Brussels deposit before their national elections later this month. If this all goes to plan this would make Belgium the the third country after Austria and France to fully ratify the UPC Agreement. As noted earlier, Malta’s status on the ratification journey is currently unclear.
The Swedish Government is currently pushing two new patent bills through its parliament according to this note on the Swedish Patent and Registration Office website.
The first bill will allow national patent applications in Sweden to be granted in English (as along as claims are translated into Swedish).
The second bill covers amendments that will be needed to Swedish law to allow the unitary patent system to be adopted. The Swedish Patent Office note seems to suggest that these changes won’t come into effect until 13 countries (including UK, France and Germany) have ratified the UPC Agreement.
The second bill also covers changes to priority document submissions and EP patent validations. The bill proposes that these parts of the second bill come into force on 1 July this year.
Economic and Scientific Advisory Board of the EPO
The Economic and Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB) commissioned an external study on the economic benefits of the unitary patent package from Europe Economics, a London based consultancy. The study in all its 131-page glory can be found here.
Brussels I Regulation
Amendments to the Brussels I Regulation are still moving along. A consolidated text of the draft Regulation has been published and is expected to be adopted in the next month or so and come into force on 10 January 2015. The Brussels I Regulation amendments therefore look like they will enter force a year or so before the anticipated start date of the unitary patent system.
Mark Richardson 6 May 2014