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UK Election likely to delay Unified Patent Court?

IMG_8533This week’s snap decision by the Prime Minister to call an early election caught pretty much everyone by surprise and, in IPcopy’s view, is likely to delay (again) the progress of the unitary patent system as the processes around the election seem likely to interfere with the UK’s ratification of the UPC Agreement. In this post we take a look at the timeline for the election and how, in our view, it might potentially push the unitary patent system start date into early 2018. (more…)

The unitary patent system: Topics of Interest (Q&A)

IMG_8533Despite there being some more work to do in bringing the unitary patent system online (not to mention the possibility that Brexit could still potentially torpedo or severely slow down the whole process), IPcopy has been asked a growing number of questions recently about the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court.

What follows below is a selection of questions that we’ve encountered over the last few weeks. This is by no means an exhaustive summary of the current state of play of the unitary patent but we hope the discussion below is useful nonetheless.

A list of topics is below. Click on the topic of interest to jump to the correct part of the post. (more…)

Holding on for a unitary patent

IMG_8533After a five month Brexit induced wobble the unitary patent system appears to be heading toward lift off and is once again figuring in the plans of some patent owners.

Indeed, in the last week, IPcopy was asked whether a currently pending European patent application would be eligible for unitary patent status or if there was a risk it might grant before the system goes live.

In this post we take a quick look at what makes a European patent eligible for unitary effect on grant and how the unitary patent system timescale matches up with the European patent process. (more…)

UPC Update – March 2017 (including UK ratification update)

IMG_8533-1The UK Prime Minister announced this week that Article 50 would be triggered on 29 March 2017.

It had been previously reported that the UK might try and conclude its ratification procedure for the Unified Patent Court Agreement prior to the Article 50 notification but the ratification procedure has slipped sufficiently that this will not now be possible.

IPcopy understands from the UKIPO that there is currently no confirmed date for laying the Statutory Instruments (on Privileges and Immunities) before Parliament that are required to complete the UK’s ratification formalities. It is expected that this will now occur after the Easter recess towards the end of April. Further details on the UK’s path to ratifying the UPC Agreement can be found here.

The recess dates for the House of Commons can be found here and for the Lords, here. (more…)

Theresa the Brexit Slayer?

brexit-1481028_1920IPcopy has wondered for a while how the UK’s somewhat surprising announcement last November that we would continue preparations for ratifying the UPC Agreement would play out if the news got wider attention in the media. Despite the Government’s insistence that the UPC is an international court rather than an EU institution I couldn’t see this argument playing well with the readership of certain portions of the press who are champing at the bit for the moment we can retake control of our country. (more…)

Westminster Legal Policy Forum – The future for the UK’s patent framework – Review


logo2wfpIPcopy attended the Westminster Legal Policy Review seminar on 2 February 2017. This post provides a summary of some of the issues raised and discussed at the seminar. (more…)

UPC update – February 2017

IMG_8533-1IPcopy recently attended two events that discussed updates to the Unitary patent and Unified Patent Court: CIPA’s “The UPC: Where we are and Why” and the Westminster Legal Policy Forum’s “The future for the UK’s patent framework”.

The CIPA event included presentations from Kevin Mooney (Simmons & Simmons and Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Rules of Procedure of the UPC), Dr Laura Starrs (UK Intellectual Property Office) and Tony Rollins (CIPA President) and the WLPF event included contributions from Kevin Mooney, Tim Frain (Nokia), Tony Rollins, Matt McBrien (BAE Systems) and Margot Fröhlinger (EPO).

IPcopy has summarised some of the points below. (more…)

Euratom, the CJEU, Brexit and the UPC

brexit-1481028_1920IPcopy is finding it difficult to reconcile the UK Government’s various announcements regarding the CJEU with continued participation in the unitary patent scheme.

As discussed in an earlier post we suggested that the Government was going to argue that continued participation in the unitary patent scheme was OK, despite the presence of the CJEU within the unified patent court structure, because domestic patent law would be unaffected by the limited influence the CJEU would have over UPC decisions.

Last week it became clear from the explanatory notes  accompanying the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill (the “Article 50 bill”) that the Government was intending on pulling out of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) as well as the EU. (more…)

New UPC Implementation Timetable and further UK ratification progress

IMG_8533-0Following the Brexit vote last June progress on bringing the unitary patent system into operation ground to a halt. The last few weeks however have seen a resumption of activities which was confirmed last week when the Unfied Patent Court Preparatory Committee website posted a new timetable for the UPC Agreement to come into force and the Court to open.

All things being equal the Preparatory Committee sees the Court becoming operational in December 2017. Keeping its end of the bargain, for now, the UK also took the next step in its own ratification process. (more…)

The 12 point Brexit plan and the CJEU – can the UK be part of the UPC post-Brexit?

IMG_8533Can the UK continue with the UPC post-Brexit? IPcopy suggests a tentative way forward.

After months of soundbites we finally heard the “plan” for Brexit this week when the Prime Minister gave a speech at Lancaster House that detailed a 12 point plan for leaving the EU (Full transcript here).

Objective 2 of this action plan related to the control of our own laws and leaving the jurisdiction of the CJEU (see extract from the transcript in footnote below1). This in turn lead several commentators to speculate that this would block the UK’s participation in the unitary patent scheme post-Brexit since, under the UPCA, questions relating to the interpretation of EU law can be referred from the UPC to the CJEU.

How, in light of this link between the CJEU/UPC and the PM’s statement, could the UK continue participation in the UPC?

The simplest answer to the above question is that post-Brexit the UK will have to leave the UPC and unitary patent. However, this is seemingly at odds with statements made recently by Jo Johnson (see our article from earlier this week) where it was suggested that the UK has a great interest in being part of the UPC and that our continued participation will be part of the Brexit negotiations.

So, IPcopy wondered if there was a way of reconciling this apparent conflict such that the UK could stay part of the UPC.  (more…)