Thursday, June 28, 2012

Countdown to European Patent Court decision

The European Council is set to convene at 3pm in Brussels and its deliberations will go on until midday on Friday. The heads of state or government of the European Union attending will have copies of the annotated agenda, circulated last month, and an invitation letter issued yesterday. Nowhere on either document do the words ’patent’ or ‘court’ come up.  But we all know the issue will be on the table for discussions.

Agreeing a Unified Patent Litigation System (UPLS) for Europe would be a major step towards the long-standing European aim of creating a Single Market. However, getting a system with the right regulations and the right infrastructure is still a tall order.

TheCityUK, working with its members, last year lobbied the British government to bid to host the planned Central Division of the court. The government did so.

We also cooperated with the City of London Corporation, London & Partners and the specialist IP groups to put the case as to why having the Central Division in London would be in Europe’s interest, not just Britain’s. TheCityUK’s Legal Services and Dispute Resolution Group, which includes UKTI and the Ministry of Justice representatives, has also kept the planned Patent Court on its agenda at every meeting this year.

Today, TheCityUK’s views are with the British team going to the Council Meeting.

We have reminded the government of the seriousness of the issues. We have relayed the industry’s concerns about the proposals that have trickled out of Brussels. But there is strength in numbers. So members should not hold back from reminding the branches of government they deal with of the importance of the future of European Patents.

European Council meetings are strange things. Decisions are taken at odd hours and negotiations rarely go in straight lines. Where we will be on Saturday morning is anyone’s guess. Whatever the result, TheCityUK will be lobbying for the interests of the UK – that much is certain.