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European criticism on high renewal fees as proposed for Unitary Patent

The European business sector and the European Commission have voiced concern about the level of the renewal fees for the Unitary Patent, as proposed by the European Patent Office (EPO).

The two EPO proposals for the fee level, often designated as the ‘Top 4 model’ and ‘Top 5 model’ have been discussed on the Kluwer Patent Blog here.

highfeesahead2Earlier this month, a group of large European companies sent a joint letter to Ministers and Heads of Government of European countries. In the letter, which is in the possession of Kluwer IP Law, the companies (Philips, Scania, Ericsson, Nokia, Alfa Laval, Air Liquide, Danfoss, Storaenso and NXP) state:

‘The level of the renewal fees is crucial for indu [...]

How attractive will the European Patent with Unitary Effect (EP-UE) be for Applicants?

A first review of the EPO’s proposals for the EP-UE renewal fees in comparison to the current rates
by Thorsten Bausch and Greg Sach

The EPO, or more specifically the president of the EPO, has recently submitted proposals for the level of renewal fees for the future European Patent with Unitary Effect (EP-UE) to the working group responsible for establishing a fee structure for the EP-UE. This working group consists of the EPO, the 25 EU member states and a number of observers such as EPI, Business Europe, the European Commission and other EPO member states that are not members of the EU. The proposals are for discussion in a meeting scheduled for end of March; if there is no agreement by [...]

‘Not all Unified Patent Courts will prosper’

Once the Unified Patent Court has started functioning, local divisions may have to consolidate into regional divisions or shut down altogether, because it turns out they have too few cases to prosper. That is the expectation of Richard Vary, head of litigation of Nokia.

At the Unitary Patent Package Conference in Amsterdam last February, Vary told Kluwer IP Law that forum shopping under the new UPC system will definitely happen. That is not necessarily a bad thing, he thinks. ‘In Germany the result of competition between the four specialized IP courts is that they have become steadily faster. In Mannheim you will now get to a trial and a decision in less than nine months, whereas in the UK [...]

SPC cases are back and there are more to come: will the CJEU definitively heal the Medeva wounds on 12 march, or will it rub salt into them?

The Supplementary Protection Certificate (“SPC”) seas have been relatively calm after the turmoil caused by “Super Thursday” (i.e. 12 December 2013), when shortly before packing for Christmas the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) published three judgments on SPCs in a row. However, over the last few months there have been recent developments, some of which we would like to pick-up on in this blog.

The first development relates to what the relevant date is for calculating the term of the SPC: the date when the marketing authorization was “granted” or the date when the applicant was notified of the decision granting the authorization. So far, patent offices in the United Kingdom [...]

Germany: Zwangsvollstreckung bei kartellrechtlichem Zwangslizenzeinwand, Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe, 6 U 162/13, 19 February 2014

The CoA Karlsruhe held that the fact that a referral is pending before the CJEU regarding the issues of the criteria for raising the FRAND defense (C-170/13 Huawei) does not justify the suspension of the enforcement of an infringement judgment issued against a defendant. The court also expressed their expectation that – even after a future decision of the CJEU modifying the criteria set up by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in the Orange Book case – the minimum requirements of an acceptable offer and to render accounts for past infringement will still apply.

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law.

Decision expected in Italy on participation in Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court

vlag italie kleinIn a surprise move, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development made a formal call last week on stakeholders to share their view as to what Italy should do with the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent (UP) system. Italy is the only European country which has signed the UPC Agreement, but has stayed out of the enhanced cooperation within the EU leading to creation of the UP.
The Ministry wanted to know what the most favourable option is for stakeholders, including employers’ associations, patent attorneys and universities: 1) Italy to join the enhanced cooperation and to ratify the UPC Treaty; 2) Italy to remain adverse to the Unitary Patent, but to ratify the UPC Treaty; or 3) I [...]

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