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Preparing for the upc

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The slides for my presentation to the Merseyside meeting of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys on 28 Jan 2016. This presentation discusses the Unified Patents Court, the unitary patent, the implementing legislation and the UPC Agreement.

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Preparing for the upc

  1. 1. Preparing for the UPC Jane Lambert Merseyside Meeting 28 Jan 2016
  2. 2. Why prepare for the UPC? Likely to open for business towards the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017 • Nine countries including France have already ratified the UPC Agreement; • The UK has passed primary legislation enabling ratification; • Germany likely to ratify the UPC Agreement by Sept 2016.
  3. 3. Why is the UPC important? • It will have exclusive jurisdiction to determine claims for infringement and revocation of unitary patents; • It will share jurisdiction over existing European patents (UK) with the Patents Court and IPEC subject to any opt-outs during a transitional period; and • It will have exclusive jurisdiction over European patents (UK) after the transitional period.
  4. 4. What is the UPC? • A legal hybrid: neither a national court like the Patents Court nor an EU court like the CJEU but a court shared by the contracting member states. • Contracting member states are jointly and severally responsible for ensuring compliance with EU law and can be sued for any failure to do so.
  5. 5. What is the UPC? • A self contained court system comprising a Court of First Instance, a Court of Appeal and a Registry (art 6 (1)); • The Court of First Instance shall comprise a central division and local and regional divisions (art 7 (1)). • The central division will be in Paris with sections in London and Munich (art 7 (2)).
  6. 6. What is the UPC? • The London section will handle cases on human necessities, chemistry and metallurgy (art 7 (2) and Annex II). • Munich will handle mechanical engineering, lighting, heating, weapons and blasting (ibid). • Paris will handle performing operations, transporting, textiles, paper, fixed constructions, physics and electricity (ibid).
  7. 7. What is the UPC? • Each contracting member state can ask for up to 4 local divisions to be set up in its territory (art 7 (3) and (4)). • Groups of contracting states can set up a regional division in accordance with art 7 (5). • The UK is likely to have at least one local division in London as well as the London section of the central division.
  8. 8. What is the UPC? • The Court of Appeal shall sit in Luxembourg (art 9 (5)). • It will hear appeals from final and interim decisions of the Court of First Instance (art 73 (1)). • The Registry will be in Luxembourg (art 10 (1)) but there will be sub-registries in all divisions of the Court of First Instance (art 10 (2)).
  9. 9. Sources of Law There are three basic sources: • Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2012 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection (OJ 31.12.2012 L 361/1)
  10. 10. Sources of Law • Council Regulation (EU) No 1260/2012 of 17 December 2012 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection with regard to the applicable translation arrangements (OJ 31.12.2012 L 361/89) and • Agreement on a Unified Patent Court of 19 Feb 2013 (“the UPC Agreement”).
  11. 11. Sources of Law Art 24 of the UPC Agreement requires the UPC to base its decisions on: • EU law including Regs. 1257/2012 and 1260/2012; • UPC Agreement; • European Patent Convention; • Other international agreements binding all contracting states such as Paris Convention; and • National law.
  12. 12. The Monopoly Art 25 of the UPC Agreement provides: A patent shall confer on its proprietor the right to prevent any third party not having the proprietor's consent from the following: (a) making, offering, placing on the market or using a product which is the subject matter of the patent, or importing or storing the product for those purposes; (b) using a process which is the subject matter of the patent or, where the third party knows, or should have known, that the use of the process is prohibited without the consent of the patent proprietor, offering the process for use within the territory of the Contracting Member States in which that patent has effect; (c) offering, placing on the market, using, or importing or storing for those purposes a product obtained directly by a process which is the subject matter of the patent.
  13. 13. The Monopoly Art 26 (1) also provides: “A patent shall confer on its proprietor the right to prevent any third party not having the proprietor's consent from supplying or offering to supply, within the territory of the Contracting Member States in which that patent has effect, any person other than a party entitled to exploit the patented invention, with means, relating to an essential element of that invention, for putting it into effect therein, when the third party knows, or should have known, that those means are suitable and intended for putting that invention into effect. “
  14. 14. The Monopoly Arts 26 (2) to 29 provide limits to the monopoly: • Art 26 (2) provides that art 26 (1) shall not apply when the means are staple commercial products, except where the third party induces the person supplied to perform any of the acts prohibited by article 25.
  15. 15. The Monopoly • Art 27 provides that the rights conferred by a patent shall not extend to any of the following: – acts done privately and for non-commercial purposes; – acts done for experimental purposes relating to the subject matter of the patented invention; – the use of biological material for the purpose of breeding, or discovering and developing other plant varieties;
  16. 16. The Monopoly – the acts allowed pursuant to Article 13(6) of Directive 2001/82/EC or Article 10(6) of Directive 2001/83/EC in respect of any patent covering the product within the meaning of either of those Directives; – the extemporaneous preparation by a pharmacy, for individual cases, of a medicine in accordance with a medical prescription or acts concerning the medicine so prepared;
  17. 17. The Monopoly – the use of the patented invention on board vessels of countries of the International Union for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Union) or members of the World Trade Organisation, other than those Contracting Member States in which that patent has effect, in the body of such vessel, in the machinery, tackle, gear and other accessories, when such vessels temporarily or accidentally enter the waters of a Contracting Member State in which that patent has effect, provided that the invention is used there exclusively for the needs of the vessel;
  18. 18. The Monopoly – the use of the patented invention in the construction or operation of aircraft or land vehicles or other means of transport of countries of the International Union for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Union) or members of the World Trade Organisation, other than those Contracting Member States in which that patent has effect, or of accessories to such aircraft or land vehicles, when these temporarily or accidentally enter the territory of a Contracting Member State in which that patent has effect;
  19. 19. The Monopoly – the acts specified in Article 27 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation of 7 December 19441 , where these acts concern the aircraft of a country party to that Convention other than a Contracting Member State in which that patent has effect; – the use by a farmer of the product of his harvest for propagation or multiplication by him on his own holding, provided that the plant propagating material was sold or otherwise commercialised to the farmer by or with the consent of the patent proprietor for agricultural use. The extent and the conditions for this use correspond to those under Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No. 2100/942 ;
  20. 20. The Monopoly – the use by a farmer of protected livestock for an agricultural purpose, provided that the breeding stock or other animal reproductive material were sold or otherwise commercialised to the farmer by or with the consent of the patent proprietor. Such use includes making the animal or other animal reproductive material available for the purposes of pursuing the farmer's agricultural activity, but not the sale thereof within the framework of, or for the purpose of, a commercial reproductive activity;
  21. 21. The Monopoly – the acts and the use of the obtained information as allowed under Articles 5 and 6 of Directive 2009/24/EC, in particular, by its provisions on decompilation and interoperability; and – the acts allowed pursuant to Article 10 of Directive 98/44/EC
  22. 22. The Monopoly • Art 28 provides for prior user: “Any person, who, if a national patent had been granted in respect of an invention, would have had, in a Contracting Member State, a right based on prior use of that invention or a right of personal possession of that invention, shall enjoy, in that Contracting Member State, the same rights in respect of a patent for the same invention.”
  23. 23. The Monopoly • Art 29 for exhaustion of rights: “The rights conferred by a European patent shall not extend to acts concerning a product covered by that patent after that product has been placed on the market in the European Union by, or with the consent of, the patent proprietor, unless there are legitimate grounds for the patent proprietor to oppose further commercialisation of the product.”
  24. 24. The Judiciary • Art 15 (1) provides: “The Court shall comprise both legally qualified judges and technically qualified judges. Judges shall ensure the highest standards of competence and shall have proven experience in the field of patent litigation.” • Legally qualified judges shall possess the qualifications required for appointment to judicial offices in a Contracting Member State (art 15 (2)) • Technically qualified judges shall have a university degree and proven expertise in a field of technology. They shall also have proven knowledge of civil law and procedure relevant in patent litigation. (art 15 (3)).
  25. 25. The Judiciary • Judges are trained in accordance with a judicial training framework at a training centre in Budapest. • Judges of the Court of First Instance will normally sit in panels of 3 with a multinational composition (art 8 (1)). • Parties may agree to have their case heard by a single legally qualified judge (art 8 (7)).
  26. 26. The Judiciary • The Court of Appeal will normally sit in panels of 5 consisting of 3 legally qualified judges from different countries and 2 technically qualified judges (art 19 (1)). • Appeals in respect if administrative decision of the EPO can be heard by panels of 3 legally qualified judges (art 19 (2)).
  27. 27. Procedure • Art 41 provides for Rules of Procedure to be adopted after broad consultation with stake holders and the Commission. • Draft rules have been prepared by a Preparatory Committee composed of representatives of the Contracting States but there has not yet been any public consultation.
  28. 28. Procedure • The UPC is bound by art 42 (1) to “deal with litigation in ways which are proportionate to the importance and complexity thereof.” • It is also required by art 43 actively to “manage the cases before it in accordance with the Rules of Procedure without impairing the freedom of the parties to determine the subject-matter of, and the supporting evidence for, their case.”
  29. 29. Representation • Parties may be represented by lawyers authorized to practise before the courts of a contracting state under art 48 (1) or by European patent attorneys entitled to act before the EPO under art 48 (2). • They may be assisted by other patent attorneys who will have a limited right of audience under art 48 (4).
  30. 30. Proceedings • Art 52 (1) provides for a written, interim and oral procedure. • Broadly, the written procedure equates to the exchange of pleadings, interim procedure to case management and the oral procedure is the parties’ opportunity to “explain properly their arguments.” • There appears to be no general duty of disclosure.
  31. 31. Legal Aid • Art 71 (1) enables a natural person who is unable to meet the costs of the proceedings, either wholly or in part, to apply for legal aid. • The conditions for granting legal aid are to be laid down in the Rules of Procedure. • Rule 376 of the draft rules provides for legal aid to cover court fees, advice and representation and any costs awarded to non- assisted parties.
  32. 32. Further Information 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square London WC1R 5AH Tel 020 7404 5252 Jlambert@4-5.co.uk http://nipclaw.blogspot.com

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