EPO hosts major conference on unitary patent and unified patent court

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23 July 2015

On Thursday 16 July, the EPO hosted key actors in intellectual property for Premier Cercle’s annual conference on the unitary patent and the unified patent court.

EPO President Benoît Battistelli

The third event of its kind, the forum hosted key speakers and contributors who addressed an audience of over 250 attendees on subjects related to the continuing development of the unitary patent package.

In a full day of discussions on crucial issues relating to the unitary patent’s ongoing finalisation, guests were able to put questions to experts from national intellectual property and patent offices. During the course of the day, senior figures from national ministries also spoke about their preparatory work for the anticipated finalisation of the UPC next year.

Among the key themes cited by speakers were the features proving attractive to users, such as simplified administration and significantly reduced fees. A high number of leading figures from national courts were also present to give their valuable input on the UPC’s Rules of Procedure and the outstanding issues to be addresses. Among those sitting on panels and in attendance were, the Hon. Dieter Brändle of the Swiss Federal Patent Court, Robert van Peursem, Advocate General of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, Lord Justice Kitchin of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Mrs. Justice Macken, former Judge of the CJEU, Mr Alain Girardet of the French Supreme Court and Mrs Ulrike Voß, Presiding Judge from the Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf .

Panellists for the Opening session – (l-r) Margot Fröhlinger (EPO), Willem Hoyng (Conference Chair), Roya Ghafele (Oxfirst), Olivér Varhelyi (Permanent Representative of Hungary to the EU), Paul van Beukering (Chair of the UPC Preparatory Committee), Ľuboš Knoth (President of the IP Office of the Slovak Republic), Prof Christian Osterrieth (University of Konstanz)

Closing remarks were provided by President Benoît Battistelli, who underlined the fundamental importance of the UPP’s successful conclusion for the European patent system. He emphasised that the last few months had seen great progress in ratification of the UPC by Member States and in the Select Committee, who’s True Top 4 proposal will form part of a wider package of measures to be adopted later this year. The President also encouraged those countries which are yet to ratify the UPC agreement to progress with the ratification process.

The conference comes at an important juncture following the decision of Italy to request accession to the enhanced procedure of the unitary patent package. If approved, the total number of participating member states will rise to 26, reinforcing the EPO’s assertion that once completed the finalised unitary patent will bring benefits for users and member states alike. It is hoped that the first unitary patent could be seen as early as the second half of 2016.

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