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Unified Patent to Benefit Asian Companies

Issued: January 12 2017

The UPC took a step forward when the UK announced it would ratify the agreement

“We are about to see the most important change in European patent law in the last 30 years” said Martyn Fish, a partner with HFG Law in the UK.


With the surprise announcement in November 2016 that the UK will ratify the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC Agreement), the prospect of a new Europe-wide patent, and an enforcement court, is now closer than ever.


The UPC Agreement will establish a new type of patent that will cover all the EU, and a new court that will hear cases regarding infringement and revocation proceedings for all European patents, including the new Unitary Patents.


“The current system is complex and costly” explained Andy Camenisch, also a partner with HFG in London. The current European patent is effectively a bundle of local patents, that need to be enforced separately in each jurisdiction. This may result in different judgements in different European jurisdictions, explained Camenisch.


“The new system will be cheaper and quicker for clients” said Fish.


For Asian companies, the changes will mean a single Unitary Patent will be valid in EU contracting states, and will be enforceable through a unified patent court, rather than having to defend the patent in each member jurisdiction. Spain will not be included due to a disagreement on language used by the court.


The introduction of a single system will make establishing patent protection across Europe easier and more effective, and will make it possible to challenge patents across all the participating Member States. It will only cover EU member states, not the wider region covered by the European Patent Convention. In addition, if your patent is granted with 13 counties having ratified the UPC Agreement, if subsequent countries ratify the Agreement, your patent will not be valid in those additional countries.


While there are some challenges and concerns ahead on how the court will operate, the changes should be welcomed by patent owners, Fish and Camenisch said.


Fish and Camenisch were speaking on the second day of the 9th Global IP Convention in New Delhi, India.



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