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Unified Patent Court ratification

The UK Minster of State for Intellectual Property’s recent decision to ratify the Unified Patent Court agreement sends an important signal. It signals that this government wants a streamlined process for patent registration and litigation not dependent upon membership of the EU. 

The decision opens up the possibility of the UK operating an improved system for dealing with patent infringements as we explain. 

Unified Patent Court structure

The Unified Patent Court is an international patent court. Membership is open to any European countries who sign the agreement. Importantly in the post Brexit world, membership is not restricted to EU member countries.  Hence, if the UK leaves the EU, the UK can still operate under the Unified Patent Court.

The Unified Patent Court, UPC, will operate as a single court for patent litigation applying a single set of rules and legislation. There will be large central divisions in London, Paris and Munich. There is the ability to set-up local courts. There will be one court of appeal, based in Luxembourg. This is the final court from which there is no further appeal.

This court will have jurisdiction over European countries who ratify the UPC agreement. The benefit is a patent infringement action brought to the UPC can be unilaterally enforced.  For example, if the UK leaves the EU, then an injunction obtained in, e.g. France, could be enforced in the UK. The need for multiple litigation is removed.

Unified Patent Court: business benefits

Himanshu Dasare, of Gannons’ intellectual property group, believes streamlining patent litigation benefits businesses. Potentially, the UK could offer a far better patent enforcement system than is currently available. This would make the UK even more attractive to businesses.

The UPC brings the potential of:

  • A streamlined set of laws aligned to the Unified Patent Court;
  • A European central court that deals with patent infringement litigation;
  • A fast track process for patent applications;
  • A roll out of the success of IPEC by bringing in a fast track lower cost system for smaller claims;
  • The opportunity to promote the UK as the choice of jurisdiction and seat for court hearings.

Himanshu Dasare is a member of the intellectual property team. He is a specialist in claiming or defending patent rights and the protection of value deriving from licences for use.  

 

 

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