Over at IPCopy we’ve been absorbing the latest version of the agreement on the unified patent court, which you can find here.
We’ll be posting an informative Q&A-style blog entry in the next few days, but in the meantime, we’ve noticed an interesting quirk in the fine print (maybe, have a look below).
Article 58 deals with the transitional provisions and, in summary, states that:
- There will be a transitional period of at least 7 years (i.e. until 1 January 2021), which may be extended by a further 7 years (i.e. until 1 January 2028).
- Up until 1 month before the end of this transitional period, a proprietor of or an applicant for a European patent granted or applied for prior to the end of the transitional period may opt out of the exclusive competence of the unified patent court.
- The proprietor or Applicant can withdraw the opt-out at any time.
By our calculation, this means that an Applicant can file a patent application up until 30 November 2020, and, on filing, opt out of the unified court system, giving the national patent courts competence for the life time of the patent, until 30 November 2040. If the Applicant changes its mind, it can opt back in again at any time.
If the transitional period is extended by 7 years, this will apply to patent applications filed up until 30 November 2027, giving the national patent courts competence until 30 November 2047!
Most of the members of IPCopy hope to be retired by this time (this writer sadly not included). Could it really be possible for many IP professionals to avoid the unified patent court for the entirety of their careers?
What do you think?
Emily Weal – 19 Dec 2012