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Obstacles remain for the Unitary patent system and the Unified Patent Court
Last week ratification legislation for the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) entered into force in Germany. This move follows years of delays caused by challenges to the UPCA in the German Federal Court.
On the face of it, the path to a functioning unitary patent system seems clear and a new operational start date of “around mid-2022” has been published by the UPC Preparatory Committee. However, a number of further steps and obstacles remain, some of which seem more than just formalities. (more…)
Changes to UK Address for Service Rules
The UK Government has announced that from 1 January 2021, the UKIPO’s rules on address for service will change. The change removes the ability to use an address for service in the European Economic Area (EEA) for new UK matters and will mean that only a UK, Gibraltar or Channel Islands address will be accepted on new applications, new oppositions, and other proceedings before the UKIPO. The Isle of Man remains a valid address for service. (more…)
Welcome to the Sunlit Uplands – 10 things about Brexit and IP
With the Coronavirus pandemic dominating the headlines you might have assumed that Brexit was all finished. However, there’s still plenty to be aware of as far as the UK’s departure from the EU is concerned. So, here are 10 things you need to know about Brexit and Intellectual Property. (more…)
It’s the end of the UPC as we know it (and I don’t feel fine)
The unitary patent project and the Unified Patent Court have been limping along in recent years ever since the result of the UK referendum on EU membership and the filing of the German constitutional court challenge against the UPC legislation.
This blog has been less than positive (1, 2) about the prospect of either the UK staying in the system or even the outlook for the project as a whole and yesterday it became clear that, contrary to previous slightly more positive murmurings from the UK Government, the UK has now decided it will not be moving forward in the Unified Patent Court system. Despite the lack of an official announcement the news seemed to pop up online and in IPcopy’s messages from a number of different sources yesterday and IAM Magazine later reported that the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that the UK would not be participating in the UPC system. (more…)
Brexit 2020 – Impact on Trade Marks and Designs
When will the UK leave the EU?
The Withdrawal Agreement has now been ratified by both the European and UK Parliaments. As a result, the UK will enter into a transition period on 31 January 2020, during which the UK will no longer be part of the EU, but will still be bound by EU rules and treated like a Member State. In this scenario ‘Exit Day’ for the purposes of IP rights will not be until the end of this transition period, expected to be on 31 December 2020. (more…)
Oh, Jeremy Corbyn! A look at Labour’s “Medicines for the Many” Policy Paper
Last Tuesday the UK’s Supreme Court delivered their verdict in the “prorogation of Parliament” case and found that the advice provided to the Queen was unlawful with the effect that prorogation had never happened. Parliament was duly recalled on Wednesday where the Speaker directed that the item in the Journal of the House of Commons relating to Prorogation was to be expunged and replaced with a reference to the House being adjourned instead.
The Commons session last Wednesday went ahead with a series of Urgent Questions and the atmosphere in the chamber steadily deteriorated as things went on. Last week also marked the return to UK TV of the show The Good Place, and in honour of that show and its main character Eleanor Shellstrop, the session in Parliament last Wednesday could probably fairly be summed up as a forking shirtshow.
Lost a little in the noise generated by the Supreme Court decision and the subsequent recall of Parliament however was an announcement from Labour in Jeremy Corbyn’s conference speech (and associated policy paper) regarding medicines and the use of the patent system. (more…)
Has Brexit scuppered the UPC?
The unitary patent system is aiming to create a European patent registration and litigation system. To bring the whole system into being, 13 EU member states, including France, Germany and the UK, need to ratify the UPC agreement and currently 16 member states (including France, the UK but crucially not Germany) have done so.
For some time, the unitary patent project has been stalled because an ongoing legal challenge in Germany has prevented Germany’s ratification process from being completed. In addition to this, the fallout from the UK’s Brexit vote has also cast a sense of uncertainty over the planned system because the unitary patent system is only, in its current form, open to EU member states to join. The UK’s expected departure from the EU therefore casts some doubt on whether the system will even take place.
In the face of the above two challenges however the UPC Preparatory Committee has continued to make technical and operational preparations in anticipation of a positive result from the German Constitutional Court.
Recently however the German Federal Ministry of Justice made a statement to the German Parliament indicating that an examination of the UK’s exit from the EU on the proposed unitary patent system will need to take place before ratification can occur. (more…)
No Deal Brexit, Boris and IP
Following Boris Johnson becoming the Prime Minister of the UK last month, and given his desire to leave the EU by the 31 October 2019 deadline with or without a deal, we have highlighted the UK government’s plans for trade marks, designs and patents in the event of a “No Deal” Brexit in more detail.
It is noted that in the event of a “No Deal” Brexit, the UK will leave the EU without any transition period and the “switch-over” date for IP, referred to as “Exit Day” below, will be 31 October 2019 (unless there are further extensions) (more…)
Brexit and IP – updated overview
This article is an updated version of a previous Brexit related article which takes into account the UK’s revised date for leaving the EU.
Following an extension agreed by EU leaders back in April, the UK is now expected to leave the European Union on 31 October 2019. The UK’s departure from the EU may have an effect on your Intellectual Property Rights. This article is designed to briefly set out those potential changes.
There is a key ‘switch-over’ date for IP, which is referred to here as “Exit Day”. The exact date of Exit Day will be different depending on the manner in which the UK leaves the EU.
In the event of a “No Deal” Brexit, where a Withdrawal Agreement has not been agreed by both sides, the UK will leave the EU without any transition period and Exit Day will be the end of the Article 50 period. Currently the end of the Article 50 period is 31 October 2019, though this date could potentially be extended again if there is still no agreement by that date.
If the Withdrawal Agreement is agreed by the EU and ratified by the UK, this provides for a transition period during which the UK will no longer be part of the EU, but will still be bound by EU rules. In this scenario ‘Exit Day’ is the end of this transition period (the end of December 2020 at least though potentially this date could also be extended).
References to “Exit Day” below should therefore be read as encompassing either the “No Deal” exit day or the exit date at the end of the transition period.
Misleading Invoices: The Brexit Edition
In April 2019, the EU agreed a second delay to the UK’s departure from the EU and set a new departure date of 31 October 2019. Following EU leaders’ talks about the new Brexit delay, President Donald Tusk told the UK: “Please don’t waste this time”.
A couple of months on from Tusk’s press conference the UK appears to be doing everything it can to ignore that request as we watch the Conservative Party continue to tear itself apart by holding a leadership contest and the Labour Party leader continue the party’s policy of constructive ambiguity as far as its Brexit policy is concerned.
Although the UK political parties and most of the country seem to be gripped by an ongoing Brexit paralysis (#JustMakeItStop), one group of people have been quick off the mark hoping to cash in on the uncertainty around Brexit.
Yes, misleading IP related invoices are back and this time the companies sending the “invoices” are hoping to persuade their recipients into parting with their hard earned cash by paying for totally unnecessary UK trade mark and design registrations. (more…)