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Back in December 2012 it was announced, in an historic agreement, that the European Parliament had adopted two regulations relating to the creation of the unitary patent. A third element of the unitary patent package, the agreement on the unified patent court, was signed in February 2013 and the EPO expected the first unitary patent to roll off the production line in Spring 2014. It’s now nearly the end of 2014 and we’ve not met the original, highly ambitious implementation date but there has been significant progress in delivering the new system.
Starting this week IPcopy is taking a look (in traditional IPcopy Q&A styleTM) at what the unitary patent package is and where we are. Unbelievably we’ve never really covered the actual structure of the new Unified Patent Court and so here, as your starter for 10, is an overview of the UPC itself. (more…)
Back in June IPcopy noted that there were three questions pending in front of the European Parliament from Marc Tarabella (Member of the European Parliament – see his biography here) that related to the unitary patent system. There was also a fourth question regarding relations between the EPO and the EU from another Member of the EU Parliament.
Answers to these questions were recently posted and are highlighted below.
As reported here previously, Spain is challenging both of the regulations that create the unitary patent. The CJEU heard the action brought by Spain on 1 July 2014 and a report of the hearing has popped up on an Allen & Overy eAlert (Luisa Deas from A&O was at the CJEU hearing).
Marc Tarabella is a Member of the European Parliament (see his biography here). Back in October 2013, he asked a question of the Commission relating to the possibility that “patent trolls” could soon arrive en masse in Europe thanks to the incoming unitary patent system. As noted on IPKat this question resulted in a slightly sniffy response from Commissioner Barnier which started by saying “The Commission fails to see how the recent Union legislation on patents, namely Regulations 1257/2012 and 1260/2012, could increase the activity of so called ‘patent trolls’ in Europe.”
It would seem Mr Tarabella has not been put off by the previous response he received and he’s recently asked more questions about the unitary patent system. It should be noted that Mr Tarabella generally appears to be something of a Parliamentary Questions Factory with, currently, 1229 questions on various topics to his name!
All three of Mr Tarabella’s questions were asked on 17 April 2014. (more…)
Last week Emily took a look at the EPO’s draft rules relating to Unitary Patent Protection. As noted in last week’s post the document appeared to be a work in progress (it was dated August 2013) and in the comments section to that post Antonio Pizzoli (Googling Wizard, First Class) pointed us at an updated version of the EPO’s draft rules which can be accessed here.
The August draft ran to 22 rules. The updated version only discusses draft rules 1 to 11. Furthermore, we note that the updated version introduces a new rule 4 meaning that there are some numbering changes.
We’ve had a quick look at the updated document and note that there has been some progress on some of the issues raised in Emily’s review. The following areas in particular interested us: (more…)
IPcopy commentator Antonio Pizzoli has pointed us in the direction of the EPO’s draft rules relating to the Unitary Patent Regulation which you can find here (thanks Antonio!). IPcopy hadn’t come across this document before, and it makes for an interesting, if slightly worrying, read.
Clearly it is a work in progress, and the draft is peppered with interesting comments and alternative proposals.
In a recent article in the Guardian regarding President Obama’s plans to curb the perceived abuse of the patent system by non-practising entities (also known as patent trolls), the author points out that none of the recommendations involve a ban on software patent in the US, stating that:
“Nowhere in the administration’s recommendations is one that already applies in Europe: an outright ban on software patents…”
But is there such an “outright ban” on “software patents” (computer-implemented inventions) in Europe?
Back in March we noted that, after their previous joint challenge with Italy against the unitary patent system, Spain had filed two further actions, C-146/13 and C-147/13, at the CJEU against the European Parliament and the European Council. No details were available at the time as to the content of these actions. However, over the weekend this all changed with the publication on InfoCuria of the two actions.
Details of the actions and our initial thoughts are below. In the interests of full disclosure I should probably point out that our initial thoughts are ones of confusion: “what Treaty is that?”, “what does that mean?”, “Have you heard of Meroni?” and “Who’ll be the new Doctor?”*