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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…)
The CJEU judgement in the case of Sky v Skykick (C-371/18), issued on 29th January 2020, addresses some fundamental aspects of trade mark law. Most significantly, it finds that the inclusion of broad terms within a specification can be considered bad faith if there is no intention to use but insufficient clarity and precision within a specification is not in itself a ground for invalidity. (more…)
IPcopy watched CIPA’s seminar on Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) recently which was presented by Kevin Scott and Richard Vary. The seminar covered a number of topics: What is a SEP?; FRAND – what does it mean?; Licensee/licensor behaviour; Litigation venues (this part was also of wider interest than the SEP world); Unwired Planet v Huawei; SEP arbitration and the future.
What is a SEP?
The seminar started with definitions of “essential”, in the context of standard essential patents, from both the ETSI and IEEE organisations (see bottom of post for a copy of these definitions) before noting that this was quite a dry definition and the SEPs that we come across in today’s world are small improvement patents that can save a bit of power in a transmitted message or add a few extra transmitters into a particular radio channel.
The core technologies behind the smartphone in your pocket were standardised around 20 years ago but in the time since then many small improvements have been made. Kevin noted that the result of such improvements means that multiple people can now stream video while on their commute to work using a broadly similar amount of radio spectrum to that which was used to broadcast a few channels to the whole country. (more…)
IPcopy is finding it difficult to reconcile the UK Government’s various announcements regarding the CJEU with continued participation in the unitary patent scheme.
As discussed in an earlier post we suggested that the Government was going to argue that continued participation in the unitary patent scheme was OK, despite the presence of the CJEU within the unified patent court structure, because domestic patent law would be unaffected by the limited influence the CJEU would have over UPC decisions.
Last week it became clear from the explanatory notes accompanying the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill (the “Article 50 bill”) that the Government was intending on pulling out of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) as well as the EU. (more…)
Can the UK continue with the UPC post-Brexit? IPcopy suggests a tentative way forward.
After months of soundbites we finally heard the “plan” for Brexit this week when the Prime Minister gave a speech at Lancaster House that detailed a 12 point plan for leaving the EU (Full transcript here).
Objective 2 of this action plan related to the control of our own laws and leaving the jurisdiction of the CJEU (see extract from the transcript in footnote below1). This in turn lead several commentators to speculate that this would block the UK’s participation in the unitary patent scheme post-Brexit since, under the UPCA, questions relating to the interpretation of EU law can be referred from the UPC to the CJEU.
How, in light of this link between the CJEU/UPC and the PM’s statement, could the UK continue participation in the UPC?
The simplest answer to the above question is that post-Brexit the UK will have to leave the UPC and unitary patent. However, this is seemingly at odds with statements made recently by Jo Johnson (see our article from earlier this week) where it was suggested that the UK has a great interest in being part of the UPC and that our continued participation will be part of the Brexit negotiations.
So, IPcopy wondered if there was a way of reconciling this apparent conflict such that the UK could stay part of the UPC. (more…)
The authors’ view was that it would be legally possible for the UK to continue subject to certain safeguards being in place. They did however note that the unitary patent and UPC raised “significant political as well as legal issues”.
So, the legal flesh seemed willing, would the political will be strong or weak? (more…)
Standards Essential Patent (SEP) matters are the giant squid of the intellectual property ocean. Enormously powerful and capable of making or disrupting the commercial plans of some of the world’s largest companies, they prowl a zone so mired in technical complexity and commercial confidentiality that their mighty struggles are largely obscured from view, despite their potential to swing hundreds of millions – even billions – of dollars from one group of companies to another. Under these circumstances, it is not so surprising that a universally respected commenter on IP matters openly wondered what all the fuss was about after delivering an impeccable summary of the most important decision in this area for several years. At first sight, the lack of excitement is understandable – the decision just seems to be a lot of stuff about who should do what when and looks about as thrilling as the rules for filing a tax return. Let us, in the manner of James Cameron descending into the Challenger Deep, see if we can shed a little light on the ecosystem of the sea bed and explain why this decision might matter. (more…)
Topics discussed below include: some actual figures for the renewal fees for the unitary patent(!!), a clarification about the updated European Patent Litigators Certificate, an updated article from Dr Stjerna regarding the Spanish challenges and the CJEU and unitary patent news from Italy. (more…)
Long story short? Sorry Spain!*
*(At least as far as the Advocate General is concerned. The CJEU’s ruling on the matter will follow at some point and though it might seem likely that the Court will follow the AG, that isn’t necessarily so). (more…)
The CJEU court diary has just been updated* to show that the Advocate General’s opinion relating to the Spanish challenges to the unitary patent package (in cases C-146/13 and C-147/13) is now scheduled for 18 November 2014.
An early Christmas present beckons for either Spain or the EPO…..