A couple of weeks ago IPcopy took a look at the Case Management System of the Unified Patent Court. Mere minutes after posting our article it was pointed out to us that the CMS had been updated! That update took the CMS to version 0.37.6. Having taken a look through v0.37.6, and wary that the CMS could be updated again, we prepared an update on the changes.
It turns out, however, that our wariness was not misplaced since a further update on the CMS has been released. The current version level is 0.38. How long this might last is anyone’s guess but there are hints that further functionality is planned (see below).
This post will therefore provide an overview of where we are now. Some of the updates discussed below appeared in v0.37.6 and some appeared in v0.38. We’ve pointed out where some things have changed between v0.37.6 and v0.38.
Unlike the apps which update on my smartphone the latest release of the CMS platform has not yet been accompanied by a helpful “What’s New” summary (an email containing fairly basic update information followed some days after the v0.36.7 update but so far nothing for v0.38).
So, we’ve imagined what it might look like if the CMS was an app in the App Store and tried to put a What’s New summary together for you (Note: as in our previous post this article is only looking at the opt-out part of the CMS. If you’ve seen any interesting issues elsewhere in the CMS then please let us know in the comments section).
IPcopy’s comments on the changes are in [italics].
Case Management System of the Unified Patent Court – What’s New
Thanks for using the CMS! To make our platform better for you, we’re bringing you updates to the UI and CMS functionality. Keep submitting your feedback. We might not post a response but we’re listening…always listening…..
New Interface Screens
- The Opt-out section has been given its own place in the Dashboard menu (see the fourth icon in the toolbar screenshot below)
- When selecting the Opt-out option, a new information page will launch highlighting that the person lodging the opt-out application on behalf of the patent owner should be either a representative before the UPC or a person authorised to lodge the application pursuant to a mandate [IPcopy: this wording is little ambiguous as to whether the mandate is required for both representatives and persons authorised to lodge the application or just for authorised persons. The next section, Personal Details in Opt-out (which was modified between v0.36.7 and v0.38), seems to clarify matters however.]
- Personal Details in Opt-out – the UI for entering data relating to the person lodging the opt-out has changed. There’s now a drop down box for specifying the status of the person lodging the opt-out request – “Registered representative before the UPC”; “Not a registered representative before the UPC”. [Each option is associated with a slightly different declaration tick box and for those persons who are not UPC representatives, the declaration references the need to submit a mandate. There is no such statement for UPC representatives.]
- Patent Data – the UI has been updated to remove a declaration of proprietorship. [This section had previously included, in v0.36.7, a tick box for the person lodging the opt-out application to declare that the patent owner is authorised to make the opt-out request. This declaration has been removed and does not appear to be replicated in this exact form elsewhere in the Opt-out process]
- Draft- Opt out – Opt out. New information screen (see screenshot below)! This page requires the person lodging the application to declare that details of each person entitled to be registered are provided in an attached document [As discussed above, the Patent Data section had previously contained a tick box for the person lodging the application to make a declaration. This new Draft -Opt-out information screen doesn’t quite replicate that earlier tick box since the person lodging the application is no longer declaring that the patent owners are authorised. Instead the person lodging the application is just declaring that the information required by the Rules of Procedure is included in an attached document. IPcopy notes in passing that there hasn’t been an opportunity to attach this document yet so you’re confirming something is included before you’ve had the chance to do so. It is also noted that there is no template document to be used for this purpose. IPcopy wonders how this section should be completed in the instance that a large number of patents are being opted out at once. It is noted that the “Upload Documents” screen is next in the procedure]
- Two factor authentication – the sign in page for the CMS refers to a “Smart Card” [If we’re being honest here we’re not sure whether that was present in the previous release. However, we note that the T&Cs for the CMS also refer to 2FA under the Security section]
The imagined “What’s New” section above covers some of the changes to the CMS in v0.38 but what about Future features?
As noted above the sign in page for the CMS references a smart card. It is also noted that the My Firm page states “Only members of a team who are representatives may lodge a document which will also require an electronic signature of the representative”.
This reference to a smart card is interesting when you take into account the comments on the Frequently Asked Questions section on the UPC website. The opt-out section explicitly discusses the possibility of a Smart Card (see “The EPO offers a Smart Card system, can’t the UPC system do so too?”) but discounts it in favour of email and SMS authentication.
It now seems however that a Smart Card system may be being considered. We’ll keep this feature under review in future releases of the CMS. In particular, we’ll be interested to see if the CMS is updated to allow one user to enter information and a second user to actually lodge an opt-out application.
What’s Not Changed
Dashboard/Personal Data – The Applicant Data section (now renamed as “Personal Details”) still doesn’t seem to pull in all the data relating to the person making the application, e.g. the Firm data doesn’t appear to populate the form. There are still a number of transition screens confirming you’ve just done something which require the user to close the screen. There’s still no delete button on the Dashboard screen so unwanted opt-out requests can’t be removed at present.
Upload Documents – the upload documents section now seems like it should be the home of both the mandate document (for non UPC representatives) and also for the proprietor data document. IPcopy ventures that it would be useful to have something within this part of the CMS that is actively prompting/reminding the user the specific documents that should be uploaded. If a proprietor data document is going to be required in all cases then IPcopy would also suggest that it should be impossible to move on to the next stage of the opt-out request until a document has been uploaded.
Review or Finalise – it is still not possible to “review” the opt-out application as the system throws up an error message if this option is selected.
It appears that there are still issues to be ironed out with the opt-out part of the CMS. IPcopy looks forward to the next release (which if our previous post on the subject is any guide will be released the second I publish this post and will include a complete revamp of the UI……).
Mark Richardson 30 May 2017