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Johnson and Johnson provide path to UK’s ratification of the UPC Agreement

IMG_8533Jo Johnson, the Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, last week picked up responsibility for Intellectual Property (from Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe who has moved to a Treasury role). On Wednesday last week Mr Johnson appeared with Jenny Dibden (Director of Science & Research at BEIS) and Sean Dennehey (Acting CEO at UKIPO) at a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee session (video of the event can be found here).

The session was quite wide ranging with questions about the Government’s Industry Strategy Challenge fund, the state of innovation in the UK, the opportunities for collaboration between business and universities and the role of the UKIPO in assisting the public in protecting their inventions and IP.

The main event though, as far as IPcopy was concerned, was the exchange between Derek Thomas MP and Jo Johnson MP about the Unified Patent Court. (more…)

IPcopy: Top 10 IP posts in 2016

Every year you make me wear this. Santa better bring me a bone this time....[Photo by ellierhu at Morguefile.com]

Every year you make me wear this. Santa better bring me a bone this time….[Photo by ellierhu at Morguefile.com]

It’s that time of year again when, despite your best efforts, possibly the worst music ever created in human history drills itself into your brain and you find yourself humming such “classic” lines as:

So here it is Merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
It’s only just begun.

Based on what happened this year I can only hope Slade are wrong when they say that “it’s only just begun” – Brexit, the US elections, Ed Balls making it to Blackpool – the shocks have come thick and fast this year and I was rather hoping 2017 might be a little…boring.

So, what does next year have in store? Who knows …. but IPcopy notes that the effects, if any, of the unexpected outcomes of the Referendum and the US Election probably won’t really start to bite until 2017….Merry Christmas everyone!

In the rest of the post below we take a quick look back IPcopy’s Top 10 IP related posts from 2016. Before we do that however I’d like to remember in a small tribute two members of the Keltie family that are sadly not with us this Christmas, David Keltie and Lindsey Gordon-Thomas. David of course set up the firm I am part of just over 28 years ago and succeeded in his desire to “create something amazing”. Lindsey worked in our accounts department and was, like David, one of the nicest, happiest and most positive guys you could ever meet. David and Lindsey both possessed an infectious laugh and wherever they are right now I’m certain it’s buzzing. David, Lindsey, it was my pleasure to have known you both.
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UK signs Protocol on Privileges and Immunities (Unified Patent Court update)

IMG_8533-1My post last week covered the steps remaining for the UK to ratify the UPC Agreement. Number 1 in that list was signature by the UK of the Protocol on Priviliges and Immunities. Also mentioned in point 1 of the list was the expectation that the UK government’s regular email updates of the process would also recommence.

IPcopy is pleased to note that both  items were crossed off the list last Thursday when an email from the IPO arrived that confirmed the UK had signed the Protocol in Brussels on 14 December. Additionally the email noted that the preparations for laying the necessary legislation have started up again.

IPcopy understands that a number of people in the UPC Taskforce were reassigned following the Referendum result. A new project team has been put together to deliver the ratification work including Liz Coleman (Lead), Dr Laura Stars (Policy Lead), Jonathan England (Operations Manager Aldgate Tower) and Helen Treharne (Communications).

Further updates are expected from the IPO in the New Year but the next Executive Group meeting of the Preparatory Committee is scheduled for 11 January.

Mark Richardson 20 December 2016

The UK and UPC: is the UK trying to have its cake and eat it?

GB+EU flagIs the UK serious about ratifying the UPC Agreement?

Last week the UK announced at an EU Competitiveness Council meeting that it was proceeding with preparations to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). This announcement was greeted with some surprise but seemed to be generally viewed as “a good thing”: the unitary patent system could get back on track, the UK and Germany could ratify the agreement and we might see the first unitary patents rolling off the production line some time in the back half of 2017.

There was, however, some cynicism expressed online with some commentators pointing out that the official announcement is, when you really look at it, pretty light on actual detail1.

Now, I’m not one to shy away from a good healthy dose of cynicism but I thought the announcement was actually heralding the restarting of the ratification process. However, I’ve recently heard some background to the announcement which has made me wonder – “Is the UK trying to have its cake and eat it?” (more…)

UK to continue with the Unitary Patent System despite Brexit Referendum result

IMG_8533-1The UK is to continue participation in the unitary patent system by ratifying the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement.

Following rumours that have been circulating since last week, the UK confirmed yesterday, at an EU Competitiveness Council meeting, that it will continue with its preparations for ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement. This announcement seemingly gets the unitary patent system back on track and a start date at some point during 2017 once again seems a possibility.

The full announcement from the UK government can be found here and is also reproduced at the end of this post. In this post, IPcopy takes a closer look at what was said, what needs to happen next and then speculates what might happen post-Brexit. (more…)

Shining a light under Europe’s patent troll bridge

Troll_Bridge_by_BlazeTwoeThe European Commission’s science and knowledge service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) carries out research with the aim of providing independent scientific advice and support to EU policies. The JRC has released a Science for Policy Report that looks at “Patent Assertion Entities in Europe”. (more…)

Brexit: Labour’s 170 Questions for the Government

brexit-1481028_1920The Labour Party released a set of 170 Brexit related questions last week to cover each day between 13 October 2016 and the Article 50 notification deadline announced by the Prime Minister at the Conservative Party conference, 31 March 2017.

IPcopy took a quick look at the questions to see whether any were IP themed ones and, if there were any such questions, how far down the list these came.

We found references to the unitary patent system and also to geographical indications. (more…)

Did Theresa May just end UK participation in the UPC?

IMG_8533-1A couple of weeks ago we wrote about an opinion from Richard Gordon QC and Tom Pascoe of Brick Court Chambers about the UK’s potential continued participation in the unitary patent system.

The authors’ view was that it would be legally possible for the UK to continue subject to certain safeguards being in place. They did however note that the unitary patent and UPC raised “significant political as well as legal issues”.

So, the legal flesh seemed willing, would the political will be strong or weak? (more…)

UPC Update – September 2016

IMG_8533While the uncertainty over the UK’s participation in the unitary patent project remains, preparations for the unitary patent system continue. In the last week or so there have been a couple of updates related to Italian participation in the scheme. (more…)

Brexit and the Uncertainty Principle Conundrum (UPC)

GB+EU flagSince the result of the UK’s referendum on the EU there has been much discussion about what will happen to the unitary patent system in the period before Brexit and also once Brexit has occurred.

Prior to the EU Referendum, many articles that discussed Brexit (including on this blog) referenced the CJEU Opinion 1/09 as the basis for saying that only EU Member States could take part in the UPC Agreement. Following the EU Referendum however a number of commentators posted articles that presented potential mechanisms for the UK’s continued participation in the unitary patent project (UPP).

The future prospects for the UPC and the unitary patent project as a whole have looked somewhat uncertain following the Referendum.

Last week, an opinion (herein the “UPC Opinion”) by Richard Gordon QC and Tom Pascoe of Brick Court Chambers was published which considers the UK, Brexit and the UPP in great detail. Can the UK continue to be a part of the UPP? The short answer seems to be “yes, but…” and further detail on the opinion and the issues discussed is summarised below. (more…)