Member States Sign Agreement to Establish Unified Patent Court

by McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP
Contact

European Union (EU) FlagOn Tuesday, the Council of the European Union announced that twenty-four member states had signed the international agreement that would establish a Unified Patent Court (UPC), a specialized court having exclusive jurisdiction over infringement and validity questions related to unitary patents.  The Council release noted that Bulgaria was expected to sign the agreement in the coming days and that Poland and Spain had not signed the agreement.

According to the Council, the UPC will ensure the uniform applicability of patent law throughout the territories of the signatory countries.  During the signing ceremony, Richard Bruton, Irish minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, called the signing "a truly historic moment" that would "give enterprises greater access to patent protection at European level, and make enforcement of patents affordable."  The Council release indicated that the UPC would also avoid the occurrence of multiple court cases with regard to the same patent in different member states, prevent contradictory court rulings on the same issues, and reduce costs of patent litigation.

Now that the agreement has been signed, the process of ratification by national parliaments can begin.  For the agreement to enter into force, at least thirteen member states (including France, Germany and the United Kingdom) must ratify the agreement.  If ratified, the agreement calls for the Central Division of the Court of First Instance to be located in Paris with specialized sections of the UPC in London and Munich.  Ratification of the UPC agreement would also result in implementation of two EU regulations on the unitary patent as of January 1, 2014 (or thereafter if the UPC agreement is ratified after that date).  A factsheet regarding unitary patent protection in Europe was provided by the Council.

EPOIn a statement issued by the European Patent Office on Tuesday, the EPO boted that it welcomed the signing.  EPO President Benoît Battistelli said the signing was "a decisive step towards the long-awaited introduction of a truly supranational patent system in Europe."  The EPO release noted that the agreement on the UPC would lead to the creation of a specialized patent court for litigation relating to patents granted by the EPO under the provisions of the European Patent Convention, e.g., classical European Patents, as well as future Unitary Patents.  According to the EPO, the UPC is expected to bring major improvements to the current situation in which a multitude of national courts and authorities decide on the infringement and validity of European patents.  On his blog, President Battistelli cautioned that "the [unitary] patent package as a whole will still have to be implemented in a way that makes the new system attractive," noting that "[r]epresentatives of the user community have emphasised that the quality and efficiency of the new litigation arrangements and the level of renewal fees for the unitary patent are key elements which will determine whether the system succeeds in practice."

On Wednesday, Hal Wegner reported in his e-mail newsletter that despite the optimism in some parts of Europe over the signing of the UPC agreement, early ratification by Germany was "most unlikely" given the comments made by leading German patent expert Prof. Dr. Heinz Goddar two weeks earlier at the Naples Midwinter Patent Experts Conference.  According to Prof. Goddar, German ratification would likely not take place until at least 2015 or 2016, and as Mr. Wegner noted in his newsletter, could be held up until 2017 or 2018.

For additional information regarding this topic please see:

• "News from Abroad: Parliament Approves EU Unitary Patent Package," December 19, 2012
• "European Parliament Adopts Draft Regulations on Unitary Patent," December 12, 2012
• "Unitary Patent & Unified Patent Court," December 12, 2012
• "Progress for Single European Patent and Litigation System," November 12, 2012
• "EU Patent Is Finally Born," July 2, 2012
• "European Parliament Approves Enhanced Cooperation Procedure to Create Unified EP Patent System," March 1, 2011
• "Several EU Members Push for Unified Patent System," December 30, 2010
• "Europe Takes Step Closer to Single EU Patent and Patent Court," February 24, 2010

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP
Contact
more
less

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.