Unified Patent Court

This has been a long time coming or not coming; but what does Brexit do to it. This piece holds my notes, and concludes by asking if the political opposition is based on “sovereignty as a business”?  …

  1. A unified patent court for Europe: the coup de grâce? from osbourne clark, focuses on Brexit and the German Constitutional Court’s rejection. There is one line as to why it might still persist i.e. innovative companies want a unified patent.  This article also mentions the very slow development to the current state and also the UK’s possible desire to disrupt the unified court for the legal industries competitive positioning. 31 Jul 2020
  2. This from Pinsent Mason, quoting the Irish Controller of IP, Gerard Barret, possibly most importantly as he identified the reduction in costs for innovators vs. the increase in risk that one court can invalidate a patent for a market of 500m people.

It’s been a long path to get to where we are today, it’s early but failed history is documented at wikipedia on its unitary patents page.  It was later, much later, to be established by the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court which was signed as an intergovernmental treaty in February 2013 by 25 states (all EU member states except Spain, Poland and Croatia). Since 2013, there have been arguments about language and court location. NB the reduction in translation costs was one of the key advantages to innovators, but in order to pursue patent rights in a member state, the patent will need to be translated there’s a thesis to be written on ‘languages of rule’. The original benches were to sit in the UK, France and Germany and these were to be the languages used. (You can see why Spain objected.) The UK bench will move to France and English replaced with Dutch provided the Germans legalise their ratification. UK Lawyers with UK qualifications ability to practice in these courts is now uncertain, at least to me.

The Brexit impact has been discussed by both the UK & European Parliament.

  1. House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee The Unified Patent Court: help or hindrance?
  2. From the European Parliament, JURI committee The Unified Patent Court after Brexit.

Is the opposition to the UPC about “sovereignty as a business”?


The featured image comes from an article in the Law Gazette, by Micvhael Cross, which looks at the new obstacles to the UPC, it has been cropped and resized https://is.gd/FkiSiu

One thought on “Unified Patent Court

  1. This is clearly unfinished work, however the European Patent Office has been in operation since 1997 and has been ‘documenting’ European patents at the rate of over 125,000 per annum. How are these patents enforced? I can’t see national courts allowing an international organisation to create the legal facts. The EUPO documents its ambition for unitary patents. The wikipedia page says, ” … [under] the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the European Patent Office acts as a Receiving Office, an International Searching Authority (ISA), an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) and, with effect from 1 July 2010, as a so-called Supplementary International Searching Authority (SISA). The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) provides an international procedure for handling patent applications, called international applications, during the first 30 months after their first filing in any country party to the PCT. The European Patent Office does not grant “international patents,” as such patents do not exist. After 30 months (or, for a few countries, after 20 months) an international application must be converted into national or regional patent applications, and then are subject to national/regional grant procedures.
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