On 20 July 2020 the UK made a statement in Parliament that it had withdrawn its ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court.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…)
Here’s a brief video (subtitles available) looking at some of the issues that might be encountered when protecting innovation in the “Internet of Things”.
Mark Richardson 24 June 2020
Here’s a few thoughts I recorded a couple of weeks ago (in 60 seconds against a stopwatch!) for reducing patent spend in light of challenges resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic. This video is subtitled.
Mark Richardson 16 June 2020
Last week in “Patenting AI/Machine Learning Inventions (Part 1)” Richard Lawrence and I discussed the challenges of patenting artificial intelligence and machine learning inventions. At the end of that video Richard promised me an example “with a dog”.
So, here’s part 2 of the video. Again, the video is provided with subtitles.
Mark Richardson 20 May 2020
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is appearing in every technology and industrial sector and has been accompanied by an increase in patent activity over recent years. In this video (subtitles available) I discuss the challenges of patenting artificial intelligence and machine learning inventions with Richard Lawrence of Keltie.
Part 2 of this video will be published next week on IPcopy.
Mark Richardson 13 May 2020
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic the EPO has adopted a number of special measures including the postponement until further notice of oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings unless they are scheduled to take place by video conference (or the applicant is willing to convert the proceedings into oral proceedings using video conference).
The use of video conferencing has therefore, for the moment at least, become the default for oral proceedings in front of the Examining Division. However, video conferencing during the Covid-19 pandemic brings a number of additional challenges compared to the normal use of the technology. (more…)
The unitary patent project and the Unified Patent Court have been limping along in recent years ever since the result of the UK referendum on EU membership and the filing of the German constitutional court challenge against the UPC legislation.
This blog has been less than positive (1, 2) about the prospect of either the UK staying in the system or even the outlook for the project as a whole and yesterday it became clear that, contrary to previous slightly more positive murmurings from the UK Government, the UK has now decided it will not be moving forward in the Unified Patent Court system. Despite the lack of an official announcement the news seemed to pop up online and in IPcopy’s messages from a number of different sources yesterday and IAM Magazine later reported that the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that the UK would not be participating in the UPC system. (more…)