Today we have a few nuggets of unitary patent and UPC news from around the web. In the post below we have an update on the state of German ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement, a reference to the European Patent Litigation Certificate in IPReg’s UK patent attorney exam proposals and we also highlight a couple of recent articles on the Kluwer Patent Blog that discussed unitary patent renewal fee progress and the possibility of a pro-patent bias in the UPC.
1) Update on German Ratification of the UPCA
According to this article on the SJ Berwin website, ratification progress in Germany is taking longer than expected with the drafting of the relevant proposals likely to extend throughout 2015. One factor that is holding up the process in Germany is the lack of information over the likely costs of the UPC (and presumably lack of information over the unitary patent renewal fees).
Germany of course is one of three countries (along with France and the UK) that is required to ratify the UPC Agreement before it can come into effect. Any delay with German (or UK ratification) could delay the entire project (France has already ratified).
2) Pro-patent bias at the Unified Patent Court?
At a recent EU Patent Package Congress in Brussels on 17 October the risk that the UPC may develop a pro-patentee bias was highlighted by a couple of speakers, according to this report on the Kluwer Patent blog. Parallels were drawn with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) which has seen an increased level of review of its decisions by the US Supreme Court in the last 15 years.
3) Unitary patent renewal fee discussion yet to begin?
Also on the Kluwer blog is a report regarding the progress of the Select Committee that is setting the unitary patent renewal fees. In response to a recent article that the unitary patent renewal fee may be as high as the equivalent of patents in 8 member states, Margot Fröhlinger of the EPO told the Kluwer blog that;
We are just studying the data and economic and financial implications of several fee levels for the users on the one hand and the Member States and the EPO on the other hand. We have not yet entered into a real discussion on what the right level is.
Details on the renewal fees have been expected to be fixed by around the middle of 2015 but maybe that timescale is optimistic in light of these comments?
4) UK Patent Attorney Exams: IPReg proposals
The unitary patent system may also now be impacting the progress of IPReg’s proposals to update the UK Patent Attorney system. The email below was received from CIPA/IPReg on 30th October 2014 and references the proposals for the European Patent Litigation Certificate.
Earlier this year you wrote to us in response to the consultation we carried out on IPReg’s proposals to simplify and modernise the Patent Attorney examination system. We received 235 responses and appreciated the energy and scope of the views expressed.
We wrote to you on 24 March to explain the likely timetable for publication of our response.
However, it is clear that the way forward is now for us to obtain specialist input on particular points which have emerged during the consultation. This is underway. We also need to consider the (currently delayed) proposal for the European Litigation Qualification in case it has a bearing on the IPReg proposals.
As further developments occur we will keep you in touch.
Chair of the Education Committee
Mark Richardson 3 November 2014