Europe gears up for the Unitary Patent

5 July 2018

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Conference participants voice strong support for the Unitary Patent package and are eager to see the start of the new system

Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court 2018

More than 200 representatives of industry, government, academia and the legal profession gathered at the EPO in Munich this week to discuss the latest developments and preparations for the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) at a conference hosted by the European Patent Office and organised by Premier Cercle.

"The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court are sources of great untapped potential," said António Campinos during his first keynote speech as EPO President. "This project will form a vital additional tool for providing access to the IP market. And in essence, that is what the EPO is about - facilitating access to effective and high-quality patents."

Mr Campinos also expressed his confidence that the UPC and the Unitary Patent would come into operation very soon, explaining that 16 Member States have already ratified the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court and that there is good reason to believe that the new system will start with close to 20 states. "We now stand on the cusp of a fully operational patent for the EU," he said.

In a keynote address, Margot Fröhlinger, the EPO's Principal Director for the Unitary Patent, European & International Legal Affairs, stressed the importance of applying passion, patience and perseverance in the light of the current delays and uncertainties.

The Chairman of the Select Committee, Jérôme Debrulle, and Alexander Ramsay, Chairman of the UPC Preparatory Committee, outlined the current state-of-play in preparations for the implementation of the Unitary Patent package in two separate panels. Both confirmed that everything is ready for the start of the system, but that this now depends on external factors, in particular the decision by the German Federal Constitutional Court on the pending complaint against the German ratification of the UPC Agreement.

In a mock trial, a panel of renowned judges from across Europe discussed the different approaches to requests for preliminary injunctions in the various jurisdictions and provided some insights into how the UPC may be dealing with such requests.  Throughout the conference, Users also reiterated their strong support for the new system and called for a quick entry into operation, urging for options to ensure post-Brexit participation of the UK in the UP/UPC are considered and solutions found.

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