UK takes first steps towards ratifying the UPC agreement / DK: Two regional chambers proposed for the Unified Patent Court, by Nicholas Fox and Ben Hall, Simmons & Simmons
On 08 May 2013, an Intellectual Property Bill1 was announced in the Queen’s Speech which will enable the UK to implement the Unified Patent Court Agreement. The new bill, in addition to providing a basis for enabling the UK to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement, also makes a number of amendments to UK design law.
Clause 16 of the Bill will introduce a new section into the UK’s Patents Act giving the Secretary of State power to amend UK law to enable the Unitary Patent Court to take effect. There are no provisions in the Bill in relation to the Unitary Patent as any changes required to implement the Unitary Patent can be made under the existing powers the government has to amend national legislation to comply with EU obligations.
Once the Intellectual Property Bill becomes law, detailed amendments to UK patent law to implement the new court and amend the law to provide for the Unitary Patent will be drawn up by way of statutory instrument to take effect when the court comes into existence. When the statutory instrument has been approved, the Foreign Office will complete ratification via Parliamentary approval of the treaty in the form of a command paper. Based on the current parliamentary time table the statutory instrument is likely to be approved in mid-2014 with ratification being completed in early 2015.
DK - Two regional chambers proposed for the Unified Patent Court
The Danish Government has announced2 that it wishes to co-operate with Sweden, Finland and the Baltic states to establish a Nordic-Baltic regional division of the Court of First Instance. The proposal would see the regional court established in Malmö, Sweden and the language of proceedings in the Court would be English.
Danish leadership in establishing any such regional Court would be essential as Denmark hears approximately 60-70 patent cases a year, compared with 20-40 in Sweden, around 25 in Finland and a handful in the Baltic States. Co-operating in a regional chamber would ensure that the regional division would hear a sufficient number of cases to be viable.
In addition to the proposed Nordic-Baltic regional division, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Cyprus are also considering establishing a joint regional division. The numbers of patent cases in all four countries at present is very low and therefore experience of patent matters is limited. Co-operating to establish a regional division is seen to be preferable to the alternative option of not establishing any national or regional divisions and having all local infringement matters heard in the Central Divisions in London, Munich and Paris. Again it has been proposed that the working language of the Court should be English.
1) Intellectual Property Bill (HL Bill 5) 2013-14
2) Location of a Regional Division of the Court of First Instance (UPC), Ministry of Business and Growth, Denmark, 08 April 2013