|Utopia: sadly, not part of the EU,|
and quite lacking in any
experience of patent litigation
Questions of this kind have cropped up before in the frenzied world of European IP and have been dealt with by spreading the offices around as follows:
- European Patent Office: Munich and Berlin (Germany), The Hague (Netherlands), Vienna (Austria) and Brussels (Belgium)
- Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market: Alicante (Spain)
- Community Plant Variety Office: Angers (France)
- EURid: Brussels (Belgium), Prague (Czech Republic), Pisa (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden)
- Community Registry of Trade Secrets: no information available ...
|In an effort to make Unified patent litigation more|
attractive to litigants, the Commission will ask judges
to cast aside their traditional robes for brighter garb ...
Another option, though not a popular one, is to have not just one seat for the court but two or more seats. The European Parliament fell for this piece of expensive, environmentally unfriendly and logistically inconvenient nonsense when it split its various activities between Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg. The trouble with arrangements like this is that they appear to be impossible to unscramble at a later stage, even if there is an apparent popular sentiment to that effect.
If the Court has to go somewhere, here are some options from which readers of this weblog may wish to choose:
Toulouse (France): a beautiful city of historic interest. Pleasant, temperate climate. Highly rated for its wining and dining, hence likely to be popular with the judiciary. Here oysters are eaten, not used as public transport tickets (cf. London). Feared by patent litigants because it is a homophone of the English words "to lose". Upside: has its own airport and is also the headquarters of Airbus. Downside: French air traffic controllers ....
London (England): if you want airports, it has five of them. If you want weather, stay around long enough and you can have whatever you want. It'so cosmopolitan that you have to be foreign if you want to feel at home. Loved by patent litigants now that it has suddenly become cheap and friendly. Upside: The Old Nick, spiritual home of the local IP blogging community. Downside: all British tennis players are programmed to self-destruct, annually, each June.
Koprivshtitsa (Bulgaria): nestling in the mountains and with architecture reflecting the 19th Bulgarian National Revival period. Fresh, crisp air will help clarify judicial thoughts. Lack of night life and limited hotel accommodation means that lawyers and clients may have to share beds. Bulgaria hasn't yet been given a turn to host any EU office, so a strong campaign is expected. Upside: it's a long, long way from Alicante. Downside: try pronouncing it after you've had a few drinks.
Guangzhou (China): a strongly-fancied outsider. While the People's Republic of China (PRC) is not within the European Union, most of the EU's assets, technology and know how will soon be in the PRC, if they're not already. Conveniently placed for visitors from Hong Kong, this location also has the advantage of being equally inconvenient for all participants in any patent suit. Upside: exquisite local cuisine. Downside: half an hour after your case is decided, you feel like having another one.Seriously, says Merpel, there's a lot to be said in London's favour. The city is a hive of IP activity; it's literally a-buzz with seminars, meetings, discussions, conferences that focus not just on patents but across the whole spectrum of IP; it also has a spectacular range of litigation support services, for those poor unfortunates who need things to be translated, transcripted, reformatted or generally processed by someone who is not a lawyer but knows what to do. With a large, patent-based professional infrastructure, experts are on hand to testify, and local law firms abound that can help deal with litigation overload.
|The Old Nick: popular place of|
pilgrimage, where visiting IP
enthusiasts can treat local
IP bloggers to a traditional
pint of Badger
Merpel adds: if you have any good suggestions for the location of the Unified Patent Court, do let me know. Either post a comment below or email me here.