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It’s been just over two months since the UK decided to take back control and, as the summer parliament recess comes to an end, IPcopy thought it would be a good time to take stock of where things stand.
The process of Brexit has been split between three Ministers – the Three Brexiteers of Johnson, Fox and Davis – which has already resulted in some turf wars. David Davis, heading up the Department for Exiting the European Union, has raised some eyebrows by claiming that the UK could do one-to-one trade deals with individual member states of the EU (it can’t) and that he wants to negotiate a trading area 10 times the size of the EU which sounds impressive until you realise that that would actually be 1.5 times bigger than the economy of the entire planet Earth1. (more…)
Under current arrangements the EPO refunds 75% of the examination fee after the examining division has assumed responsibility for the case but before substantive examination has actually begun. In order to provide transparency over whether substantive examination has begun the EPO also posts a notice on the EP patents register to let applicants know when substantive examination has started.
As from 1 July 2016 the EPO is going a stage further (see EPO News Item) and is now starting to inform applicants, if operationally possible, at least two months in advance of the date on which it intends to start substantive examination. Any application that is withdrawn, refused or deemed to be withdrawn before such substantive examination has begun will get a full (100%) exam fee refund instead of the previous 75% rate. (more…)
As far as IPcopy is concerned, the level of political debate recently has not risen much beyond playground banter with facts and detailed arguments being sacrificed for soundbites and quotable political mantras such as “Let’s take back control”, “Let’s make Britain/America great again”, “We’re gonna build a wall” etc. It seems politics these days just requires the collective unconsciousness to be exposed to such sayings over a long enough period of time to ensure the votes follow…after all, who needs experts, eh? (more…)
Despite the result of the referendum in the UK, it would appear that technical preparations for the Unified Patent Court are going to continue.
The UK’s ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement is a required step in bringing the unitary patent system into play. Without the UK’s participation the remaining members of the project are faced with either waiting for the UK to leave the EU (which appears to be at least 2.5 years away now) or renegotiating the UPC Agreement to remove the UK.
However, in a joint statement from the Chairmen of the UPC Preparatory Committee and the EPO Select Committee dealing with the Unitary Patent it is noted that “it is too early to assess what the impact of this vote [the Referendum] on the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent Protection eventually could be”. The statement ends with the Preparatory and Select Committees stating that “work dedicated to the technical implementation should continue to progress as envisaged.” (more…)
On 23 June 2016 the UK public voted in favour of the UK leaving the EU (commonly referred to as ‘Brexit’). If and when the UK formally starts the exit procedure, there will be at least a two-year negotiation period before the exit itself occurs. So, any changes won’t be implemented for some time yet.
Any UK national IP rights will be unaffected by Brexit. Some EU IP rights that have effect in the UK will be affected to different extents. Crucially, no IP rights will be lost as a result of Brexit, although some transitional measures are inevitable.
IPcopy takes a look at the key impact Brexit will have on IP, and what you should be considering now. (more…)
This Thursday, 23 June 2016, is of course Referendum Day here in the UK, the outcome of which could have a significant impact on the unitary patent system. This Thursday also marks the day on which two bills relating to Germany’s ratification procedure for the UPCA will come before the German parliament. This hearing is apparently the first of three hearings. With the German Parliament due to take a summer break throughout most of July and August it may be the autumn before the necessary steps have been taken to ratify the UPCA in Germany. [German Parliament calendar; Draft Bill 1; Draft Bill 2] (more…)
Update (7 June 2016)
According to the website of the Council of the European Union, Bulgaria has now deposited its instrument of ratification (on 3 June 2016) to become the tenth country to complete its ratification formalities. Bulgaria joins Finland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Malta, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, France and Austria as one of the ten countries who have completed their ratification processes.
The unitary patent system requires 13 countries to ratify including the UK, France and Germany meaning that just the UK, Germany and one other country are required to ratify to bring the unitary patent system into effect. The target date for the unitary patent system is currently May 2017.
The “Early Certainty from Search” scheme (ECfS) was launched by the EPO in 2014 to “provide applicants with legal certainty in Europe on pending patent applications early in the process and also to contribute to overall timeliness”.
It is IPcopy’s understanding from EPO sources that the EPO is happy with how ECfS has developed and that there are now plans to extend this into examination and opposition. (more…)
The first update in a while popped into IPcopy’s inbox today from the UK’S UPC Taskforce. This looks like it may be the last such official update for a few weeks as the UK will be “going dark” in the period before the EU Referendum. (Hopefully the first communication after the restart won’t begin “EU Referendum Result – Oops. The rest of you can take it from here, right?”!)
Anyway, back to the main news: (more…)
The US software patent environment is very different in the year following Alice v. CLS than in the year after State Street v. Signature . It was expected that when the Supreme Court finally had to take a view on eligibility of subject matter, things would change. After years of waiting for the other shoe to drop, it did (in a strange multi-stage process involving Bilski v. Kappos, Mayo v. Prometheus and Alice) – but nobody seems terribly sure where it landed. (more…)