Tag Archives: Unitary Patent

Unitary Patent – Lithuania Completes Its Ratification Formalities

According to the website of the Council of the European Union, Lithuania has completed its ratification formalities on 24 August 2017. This is the 14th ratification following that of Estonia which joined the unitary patent system on 1 August 2017.

To be complete, the unitary patent system requires 13 ratifications, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom. France is already part of the system since 14 March 2014. However, according to the Preparatory Committee, the United Kingdom and Germany still have some hurdles to overcome before the unitary patent system enters into force (you can see our previous posts on the situation in the UK and Germany)

Still, the Preparatory Committee is confident that the UPC will come into force around January 2018.

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5th conference on the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court

The 5th conference on the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court, organized annually by Premier Cercle in association with the EPO, was held in Munich on July 5, 2017.

First, an overview over the state of advancement of the implementation of the Unitary Patent and the UPC from a technical, legal and financial point of view was given by a member of the Committee in charge of the Implementation of the Unitary Patent Protection. It appears that the implementation is completed at all levels, and that the system is ready to launch as soon as the ratification process has been completed.

This overview was followed by a discussion on the selection of the judges for the UPC. The first round of selection is now completed and 236 candidates were selected among initially 841. These candidates will now be interviewed individually to select a total of 100 judges, among which 50 technically qualified judges and 50 legally qualified judges. The overall impression conveyed by the Chairman of the Advisory Panel on the Selection and Training of Judges for the Unified Patent Court, Sir Robin Jacob, was that the quality of the candidates was very promising.

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Get prepared for a breathtaking fall sunrise

In practice, the UPC Agreement setting up the UPC is to enter into force the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the thirteenth instrument of ratification or accession, including France, Germany and the UK.

As a further unforeseen development of the setting up of the UPC, the United Kingdom voted “Brexit”. This Brexit has become more tangible as the UK has notified withdrawal from the EU under article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union on March 29, 2017.

Despite the great uncertainties created by Brexit, rumors say that the UK is willing to ratify the UPC Agreement in spring 2017. Besides, Germany is apparently prepared to do so in summer 2017. This would trigger start of the UPC at the end of year 2017 or the beginning of year 2018.

Before start of the UPC, these ratifications would trigger immediate entry into force of the Protocol to the UPC Agreement signed by the Contracting Member States on October 1st, 2015.

The UPC has to be fully operable at the date the UPC Agreement enters into force.

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Opt-Out

The present system of European (EP) patents granted by the European Patent Office, has the drawback that the same patent, validated in several states, may lead to several parallel disputes in these jurisdictions.

The Unified Patent package creates a unitary effect for European patents all over the  states that have ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA – to be found here). That is to say, the same EP patent will have the same effects in all the states that ratified the UPCA and where said patent has been validated.

It also creates a single court (the Unified Patent Court – UPC) having jurisdiction for such European patents with unitary effect.

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UPC: Background & Overview

After two unsuccessful attempts to create a “Community Patent” in 1973 and 1989, the European Commission finally tabled the unitary patent proposal in 2011. (See European Parliament website for more information).

The system was supposed to be operational during the first semester of 2017, but due to the importance of the UK in the system, the “Brexit” referendum in June 2016 delayed its entry into force. Stakeholders now wish that it takes place before the end of 2017.  

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