Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Battistelli: “nobody knows today” (what will happen to the London court)

Battistelli speaks to award winner Adnane Remmal

At the occasion of the European Inventor Award 2017 (15 June 2017 in Venice), Benoît Battistelli, president of the European Patent Office (EPO) spoke to reporters about the unitary patent (Euractive reports).

According to him the Unified Patent Court is “is not an EU agency”,and so the London location of the court's central division would not have to be relocated to an EU member state after Brexit is complete. Whether that would be politically acceptable  “would be another issue” and “It will depend on the outcome of the negotiations”. He conceded that “nobody knows today” what will happen with the court.

According to the article we do have a new start date though: early 2018.

I'm not sure I'd bet on that. Let's say that early 2018 means March 2018, and assuming an 8-month lead time between ratification and start, this would mean that by August 2017 the UK and Germany have each ratified the UPC agreement.  Given the politically sensitive issue for the UK and the requested delay of the German constitutional court, it seems a bit optimistic that both will be resolved in two months time.

Photo from the Award ceremony photo gallery at EPO. 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

New delay for unitary patent

The start of the unitary patent system has a few further setbacks: one less surprising (the United Kingdom), one more surprising (Germany).

Up to now, the goal was to have the system up and running by December this year. That date relied on the timely ratification of the required states. In particular, the United Kingdom ought to have ratified the agreement last May. As that did not happen, the start date of the unitary patent system has also been delayed. The unified patent court has published an update to their timeline, confirming that December 2017 will not be met.

Apart from the ratification of the UK which is not forthcoming, another ratification problem is caused by the Protocol on Provisional Application. This lesser known protocol arranges the starting-up period of the court. Up to now, there are only 11 signatures which is not enough. Interestingly, the United Kingdom has signed the protocol, so no problems there.

The unified patent court has not yet set a new date.

The other setback comes from Germany. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Germany's constitutional court) has asked the President not to ratify the UPC agreement yet (here is the German article, an English source is here). Someone has brought a constitutional complaint which needs to be settled before ratifying. Kluwer has interesting speculations, that the problem could be more substantial than just the unified patent court. I haven't found confirmation at the website of the Bundesverfassungsgericht yet.

Photo by slon_dot_pics (slon.piccs) via Pixabay under a CC0 license.