Things in unitary patent preparation land are beginning to slow down a little as we head into the summer season. Things will no doubt pick up again in the autumn but in the meantime here’s some nuggets of news to keep you going.
1) The Spanish Challenge to the Unitary Patent at the CJEU
Dr Ingve Björn Stjerna, a German attorney operating in the area of patent litigation who has been following the progress of the unitary patent system on his website, recently dropped IPcopy a note to highlight a new entry on the unitary patent area of his site. It turns out that Dr Sterna attended the CJEU hearing into the two Spanish challenges against the unitary patent and his report can be found here (link to PDF).
The article provides a good overview of the issues in play and summarises the arguments made at the CJEU hearing on 1 July 2014. Of interest to IPcopy was that the hearing only took around 3 hours(!) and that the Court did not make any remarks during the hearing that might give a clue as to what its position might be. The article concludes with some analysis from Dr Stjerna and thoughts on the outlook for the case. In his view the defendants’ arguments surrounding a couple of the issues were not fully persuasive (see page 4 of the report).
2) European Patent Litigation Certificate
The deadline for submitting comments on the proposal for the European Patent Litigation certificate has now passed.
CIPA’s response (main document and annexes) to the consultation can be found in all its 141 page glory here.
The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe has also filed a response which can be found here. If you’re a European Patent Attorney then this response (somewhat shorter at 9 pages) makes for interesting and slightly painful reading. It would seem that the Preparatory Committee is going to have a wide range of views to try and sift through!
If anyone else can point us at examples of other responses then please let us know and we’ll collate them together.
3) Unitary patent renewal fee
Still no real news on where the fee is going to end up but IPcopy has seen an interesting presentation from the EPO on the issue of setting the renewal fee levels. As noted in our earlier post here the EPO is modelling a number of scenarios from a unitary patent renewal fee based on the top 3 countries in which EP patents are validated up to a unitary patent renewal fee based on the top 10 states.
The EPO presentation we’ve seen covers the scenarios: Top 3 (DE, FR, GB), Top 5 (Top 3 + NL, SE) , Top 7 (Top 5 + BE, AT) and Top 10 (Top 7 + IE, DK, PL).
Although the level of the renewal fee is not mentioned it appears that the unitary patent renewal fee may be made up of a number of components:
– For years 5 or 6 upwards the UP fee appears to be the summation of the country fees in question.
– For years 3 to 4/5, the suggestion appears to be that the unitary patent fee is based on the EPO’s maintenance fees for the years in question.
– For year 2, a new renewal fee is proposed in case the European patent grants quickly (there is no EPO fee that would cover this period).
All that remains is choosing one of the options. The presentation makes a big deal of how the various options will financially impact the EPO in the future so if I had to guess I’d say we’d be extremely lucky if the Top 3 option is the one that’s chosen.
Mark Richardson 5 August 2014