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‘Differences between national law and Unified Patent Court law could be major problem’

The expected number of local divisions of the future Unified Patent Court (UPC) is so high that one may wonder if there will be any advantage in terms of specialization of judges and economies of scale. Bas Pinckaers, head of the patent department of Van Doorne and co-organizer of the Unitary Patent Package Conference on 5 and 6 February 2015 in Amsterdam, said this in an interview with Kluwer IP Law. Pinckaers thinks that differences between national law and UPC law may turn out to be a major problem for the new system.

Are your clients aware of the upcoming changes in the European patent landscape and if so, in what way are they preparing for it?
While the larger clients are participating [...]

Philips sees no reason to opt-out patents from the Unified Patent Court

scheerapparaat kleinThe Dutch company Philips is among the top-10 Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applicants and the top-3 European Patent Convention (EPC) applicants. Owning about 64,000 patents and filing approximately 1,500 patent applications each year (with a strong focus on the growth areas of health and well-being), much is at stake for the company with the introduction of a Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the Unitary Patent (UP). Philips’ principal IP Counsel Leo Steenbeek told Kluwer IP Law in an interview he hopes financial demands of UP member states won´t lead to unrealistic high renewal fees. Philips won’t opt-out patents when the UPC starts functioning.

Does Philips usually validate patents in [...]

Translating the Unitary Patent II: High Quality is Far From Perfect

patent translateLast week, we reported on the challenging endeavour to set up Patent Translate, the machine translation system which is under joint development by the European Patent Organisation (EPO) and Google and which is a crucial element of the Unitary Patent (UP) package. Intellectual Property Office (IPO) officials from Hungary, Finland and the Czech Republic told Kluwer IP Law the current quality of the machine translations is ‘rather bad’, possibly even ‘useless’. They are confident the EPO is actively involved in resolving the translation issues, although Jorma Hanski, director of the Patents and Innovations Line of the Finnish IPO, questioned whether the statistical machine translation e [...]

Translating the Unitary Patent I: ‘Laminated Jealous Glass’

For Europeans who don’t speak English, German or French, the three official Unitary Patent (UP) languages, the future UP system will bring about an even more radical change than for those that do. Over the years, millions of patents from companies all over the world will have been held valid in their territory, although these patents would only be available in one of those three official UP languages. With Patent Translate, the machine translation system developed jointly by the European Patent Organisation (EPO) and Google, anyone will henceforth be able to read a patent description in his or her mother tongue.

patent translatePatent Translate has a statistical approach. ‘The system translates by compa [...]

15 years are enough! ECJ decided on the maximum period of exclusivity of a patent and SPC

by Miriam Büttner

In a recent decision the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the maximum period of exclusivity of a patent and a supplementary protection certificate (SPC) (Order of the Court dated 13 February 2014 – case no C-555/13, Merck Canada Inc. vs. Accord Healthcare Ltd and others).


Merck Canada Inc. (Merck) lodged an application for a patent for the active ingredient “montelukast sodium” in Portugal on 11 October 1991, which was granted on 2 Octo-ber 1998. The first marketing authorization (MA) for a medicinal product containing that active ingredient within the European Union was obtained in Finland on 25 Au-gust 1997. Merck applied for a SPC with the Port [...]

Patentability of biotechnology inventions: “O time thou must untangle this, not I. It is too hard a knot for me to untie”

Although Brian Cordery will try to have you believe that the title of this blog is borrowed from William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, it may well have been taken from the Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament dated 14 July 2005 on Development and implications of patent law in the field of biotechnology and genetic engineering, where the Commission wrote that:

There is no immediate answer to the question of the patentability of embryonic pluripotent stem cells and indeed at this stage it would appear premature to come to a definitive conclusion. The Commission will continue to monitor developments in this area.”

No additional progress appears to have been made [...]

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