Back in July we reported that although there was a political will in the Czech Republic to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement, there was likely to be a delay until an economic impact assessment could be carried out. Such an assessment in turn could not happen until details of the renewal fees, court fees etc. were published.
The Kluwer Patent Blog is now also reporting that, in addition to the economic factors, there is an issue over the quality of machine translations into Czech. Unlike places like Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, foreign language knowledge in the Czech Rerpublic is apparently low and so the quality of machine translations within the unitary patent system is important.
The article notes that there are only a relatively low number of valid patents in the Czech Republic and this may be expected to rise once the unitary system becomes active. This is apparently perceived as a concern to SMEs within the country.
IPcopy notes that these arguments have some parallels to the situation in Poland.
Poland, of course, were initially very keen on the idea of the unitary patent system (when they had the EU Council presidency). Subsequently, however, they got cold feet and have, as a consequence, not signed the Unified Patent Court agreement. The Polish position changed following a report from Deloitte. During the European elections earlier this year, an article popped up on the Danish website for the newspaper Information highlighting/reminding the voting public in Denmark about the situation in Poland. This article was accompanied by a link to the Deloitte-Poland report in English which can be accessed here. The report of course suggested it would be economically less painful for Poland to stay out of the unitary patent system.
Let’s hope that the parallels between the Czech Republic and Poland don’t play out and that the Czech Republic can move to ratifying the UPC Agreement in due course.
Mark Richardson 10 October 2014