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Wragge & Co held an excellent breakfast seminar yesterday (lovely bacon butties!) on the Unified Patent Court. The seminar provided a good overview of the unitary patent package as it stands today as well as highlighting outstanding issues and areas of interest.
One issue that was raised was the possibility of a “sunrise” provision being introduced to give patentees of nationally validated EP patents a protected period after the system goes live in which to register an opt out of the competence of the unified patent court.
Such a sunrise provision is being discussed because of the possibility of tactical revocation actions being brought by third parties against such nationally validated EP patents in order to fix those patents within the competence of the unified patent court before an opt out (from the UPC) has been filed by the patent proprietor.
In an earlier post – Avoiding the unified patent court – Do our eyes deceive us? – we asked whether the transitional provisions of the unified patent court agreement (see Article 83 of the final text [previously Article 58]) meant that an applicant could opt out of the competency of the unified patent court during the transitional period and that the opt-out would continue throughout the life of the patent.
Since the transitional periods are planned to run until at least either 1 January 2021 or 1 January 2028 this interpretation of the unified patent court agreement would mean that, for European patent applications filed prior to the end of the transitional period, national courts could still have competence to hear patent cases until the 2040s!
In a statement on 18 February 2013, the Commission clarified their position and confirmed that, as suspected in our earlier post, the opt-out will last for the life of the patent.
Over at IPKat, Amerikat has been looking at the transitional provisions of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement and considering an interesting question. In this post, Amerikat has been considering Article 83, which gives a patentee the possibility to opt out of the ‘exclusive competence’ of the UPC if the patent was filed before the end of the transitional period, and to opt back in again at any time.
In brief, her question is this: does opting out of the ‘exclusive competence’ of the UPC still leave the UPC with non-exclusive competence, or does it leave the UPC with no competence at all (pun entirely unintentional)?
At IPCopy, we threw around some thoughts on this when we first noted quite how long the UK courts could still have competence as a result of Article 83 (Draft Article 58 back when we posted this), and we thought this was an opportunity to share them with you, and Amerikat! (more…)
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).