Coming back from holidays is always a time for maximum feline grumpiness, so the IPKat was in no mood to see more mis- and disinformation about the Unitary Patent coming from apparently official sources. He refers to this press release from the Austrian Foreign Ministry announcing the welcome news that Austria has ratified the Agreement on the Unified Patents Court (UPC) and is the first EU member state to do so. But the press release does not of course content itself with just doing this. Oh no. It quotes Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger as saying “New EU patent will trigger innovation boost for EU” whereas it is abundantly clear that the UPC will benefit non-EU patentees just as much, if not more, than domestic ones. That might be dismissed as mere puffery. Worse is “Until now, seeking approval for an EU-wide patent was a costly, laborious process that deterred many. However, thanks to the agreement reached on the patent package for unified patent protection, things are set to change.” Patent applicants, reading this, are entitled to expect some substantive change in the application process making it somehow cheaper and easier. Of course what they will get is the SAME application process, because the Unitary Patent is sought POST-GRANT as an alternative to national validation. And while it is indeed cheaper than validation in all EU countries, current indications are that it will NOT be cheaper than what many applicants do now, namely validate in only a few territories.
The final howler is “The agreement must now be ratified by all 27 member states” - which is pretty much impossible as two have not even signed it. And in fact only 13 countries need to ratify for it to come into force. And there are now 28 member states not 27, since Croatia joined the EU in July.
How, the IPKat wants to know, are professionals supposed to inform and advise our clients when governments put out misleading tosh like this?
However, all bitterness was immediately dispelled when the IPKat learned the excellent and wonderful news that a couple of events are being organised by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) as part of the Consultation on the Draft Rules of Procedure of the Unified Patents Court.
The IPKat has previously written welcoming this Consultation, in particular the long period allowed for it. Even better is that the IPO is now planning to educate those who may wish to respond to the consultation, leaving still nearly a month for potential respondents to marshal their thoughts, by means of two events, in London and Edinburgh. At both events, Kevin Mooney (Simmons & Simmons), one of the drafters of the current draft of the Rules of Procedure, will be on the panel, as well as Alan Johnson (Bristows), who will be known the CIPA members from his excellent series of articles on the topic this year.
The first event is in London, kindly hosted by Bristows. The other panellists are announced as:
Lord Justice Floyd, Richard Vary (Nokia) and Bobby Mukherjee (BAE Systems & Chair). If there is still space, you should be able to register here.
The second event is in Edinburgh and is being organised by the IPO directly. The other panellists are announced as:
Lord Glennie, Robert Buchan (Brodies Solicitors), Russell Thom (Murgitroyd) and Chris Mercer (Chair).
There is an email address on the IPO webpage in order to register.
Both events of course have finite capacity and so may well become full. But never fear. For those who may find London or Edinburgh too difficult to get to, or who wanted to attend in person but did not register in time, there will be a WEBINAR. Of course there will. Details are still being worked on, but those nice people at the IPO tell the IPKat that details will be available very soon, after which this post will be updated. (And details will be available on the IPO website as well).
UPDATE: The London consultation event on 3 September can be view on the day by webinar at this address, viewable from 16:30 on the day. The timings are as follows:
16:30 - Welcome and introduction: Bobby Mukherjee (IP Federation) and Neil Feinson (Intellectual Property Office)
16:40 - Presentation on UPC Rules of Procedure: Kevin Mooney
17:50 - Panel discussion
18:30 - End
If after that you are still hungry for more information and discussion about the UPC, then AIPPI has just the event for you on Thursday 12 September, kindly hosted by Freshfields. As well as Kevin Mooney (see above - he will have a very busy couple of weeks!) and Laura Starrs of the IPO, your humble correspondent will also be speaking from the patent attorney perspective. It is free for AIPPI members and a mere £25 if you have not got round yet to becoming a member, and you can read more about it, and register, here.