EU Leaders Reach Agreement On Unitary Patent System
- Comment from intellectual property specialists Marks & Clerk LLP –
Leaders of European Union states reached agreement today on a unitary patent system at a summit, settling on a compromise to share the location of the court between Paris, London, and Munich.
Keith Hodkinson, Partner and Chairman of Marks & Clerk International, comments:
“Today’s agreement does not in fact represent a final agreement on the Unitary Patent Court or a victory for the UK Government.
“Whilst the location the court is certainly of economic significance, and the decision to locate at least certain specialist work in London is of course welcome, the chief concern for the professions and industry has always been the fundamental flaws in the regime, rather than the issue of where cases are heard.
"Specifically, we have consistently opposed the provisions in articles six to eight governing the role of the European Court of Justice, a point evidently taken up by the UK Government in the horse trading which has gone on over the past few hours.
“Today’s agreement from the Council of Ministers "suggests" that these articles be deleted – indeed, this was the whole point of Cameron’s veto threat. But it is not at all clear that the Council of Ministers can insist on this or that the Commission will agree or what, if anything, would take the place of the deleted articles. It is quite possible that the UK has signed up to a blank cheque, or the very regime it was threatening to veto not more than a few hours ago.
"It is also unclear what will happen to the issue of bifurcation (splitting infringement and invalidity issues into separate proceedings).
“We would have preferred clarity on these fundamental practical issues in the regime before committing the UK to it. Better to allow a few months to rewrite the articles than to go into a new regime blind.
“So, despite talk of final agreement there are a number of pressing questions yet to be answered, and this process could yet continue for some time.”
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