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08.03.16

Lucy in the Sky With Battistelli’s Diamonds (EU Budget) But No UPC in Sight

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like the classic

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Summary: Despite her dubious public appearances with Benoît Battistelli, Lucy Neville-Rolfe is still unable to just simply ignore Brexit and rush the UPC through

THE UPC (Unitary Patent) has a lot to do with the unprecedented chaos at the EPO (see background to this), by the EPO’s very own admission. The UPC, created and pushed by Team UPC (not representatives of public interests at all, just a group of circling vultures), is just about as bad as those notorious ‘free’ ‘trade’ ‘deals’ (none of those things), such as TPP and TTIP. Secrecy was all along needed in order to keep everyone but the self-serving conspiracy in the dark, unable to weigh in, antagonise, and report wrongdoing.

Lucy Neville-Rolfe is being approached by Team UPC and organisations (or lobbies) whose memberships intersect/overlap Team UPC. UK IPO has just published a public statement (Tuesday) and MIP has a new article about it. “It remains unknown if the UK will ratify the UPC Agreement,” says the summary and here is the relevant part from the article’s body: “It seems we will have to wait until next year to know the UK government’s decision on UPC Agreement ratification. The IPO did not say anything on this, but it noted: “The UK remains a Contracting Member State of the Unified Patent Court at present. We will continue to attend and participate in UPC meetings in that capacity. There will be no immediate changes.””

The UPC boosters from Bristows (part of Team UPC) pretend that it’s business as usual after Brexit, but it’s not. To quote this new blog post:

Unlike many of the UK law firms [like Bristows] who quickly climbed on board the Brexit bandwagon, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office has been understandably and notably silent. For the past several weeks they have been in listening mode as they hear from stakeholders about their post-referendum concerns. Today, they have published a short guide called “IP and Brexit: The Facts” to dispel the speculation on the future of IP law following the referendum result. The main message is “The UK is still part of the EU so your EU-derived protections continue and we are considering various post-Brexit options”. Unsurprisingly, the brief is short given that the fate of EU-made rights will be determined by the ultimate relationship between the UK and EU.

On patents, the UK IPO confirmed that it was business as usual for UK businesses applying for patents at the EPO and that the referendum result will not impact the European Patent Convention (EPC).

Here is the direct statement from UK IPO: “The UK remains a Contracting Member State of the Unified Patent Court at present. We will continue to attend and participate in UPC meetings in that capacity. There will be no immediate changes.”

Well, UK IPO is sort of contradicting itself on UPC as noted in this comment which says:

One comment in IPO’s post Brexit communication says “The UK remains a Contracting Member State of the Unified Patent Court at present”.

According to the same statement: “There will be no immediate changes” does not give the impression that a quick ratification is on the tablets, as this would be an immediate change.

When considering the overall tone of the the statement, IPO’s first preoccupation seems to lie more in seeing how to leave the existing system of EU laws and regulations on IP matters so that the rights of UK IP owners are protected, rather than trying to add a further problem, UPC, on all the issues which will have to be settled. As far as patents are concerned, the way to the EPO is not changed by the Brexit. A strong enthusiasm for the UPC sounds differently.

When looking at the long list of duties of Baroness Neville-Rolfe, IP does not look as it will be at the top of her priorities.

May be something to reflect upon?

Someone is poking fun at Battistelli with an ode that spells out “BREXIT”. Surely they know that nothing would displease Battistelli more than the demise and possibly death of the UPC — a project he spent over half a decade promoting. Here is the ode/poem:

B eing as UPC stands for UP the creek without a Canoe
R eally not much else we can do
E PO Sun King and Grand Master
X claims it is an almighty disaster
I t is the one good thing to come out of the vote
T hat Batters now has a huge hole in his boat

As another person notes, echoing what we said several times last month, UPC is very low down in the list of British priorities right now:

I agree that the fact that the Baroness has been assigned more responsibilities does not suggest that a great deal of time and effort will be expended by the government upon IP issues (be they Brexit-related or otherwise).

This perhaps indicates that we can expect some delays in decision-making, including on the UPC. This may be compounded by the fact that there will be more pressing matters for the UK to resolve in connection with trade marks, designs and copyright.

These issues aside, I doubt that the IPO’s statement could be said to provide any hints one way or the other with regard to the UPC, which is likely to remain somewhat of a “complicated” issue in the coming months. So I guess that we will all just have to wait and see.

The following comment goes along the same lines:

I think some of these people need to remember that ministers have tended not to stay with IP for any period of time. The Baroness keeping the IP mandate is to be welcomed, even if she has further responsibilities. She knows the stakeholders and the issues, and can be a good ear even if she leaves some aspects to others.

Of course, the shape of the outcome is not really dependent upon IP – it will be shaped by other concerns, and IP will find a way. I guess if you are looking at unusual infringements of trade marks, start the action now whilst judges have to apply EU principles!

Well, as noted by the Bristows Kat: “In the meantime, Baroness Neville-Rolfe will continue as the minister for IP, but her full title is now Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property.”

It means more responsibilities. Well, Lucy is being asked to leap/jump through hoops after sucking up to the thug, Battistelli (more than once in recent months), but there would be a huge backlash if she attempted to do so.

This Kat’s colleague wrote: “Forget Brexit and Article 50, forget the Chilcot enquiry, forget whatever sports competition is concerning you at the moment, worry not about the UPC.”

Well, forgetting that isn’t an option, as the conspiracy of patent lawyers actively works behind the scenes lobbying Lucy to sneak the Trojan horse through the back door. We wrote about this before and presented evidence.

Another colleague, Merpel, is quoted in relation to the news about Lucy. Can Lucy be trusted? We doubt it, but she hasn’t much capacity right now to arrogantly ignore Brexit and do the unthinkable. It would be political suicide for her. As a comment put it this morning: “Has she [Lucy] actually stated, in the past, a long-term IP strategy beyond ‘we’re going to join the EU patent system’? That’s a measure rather than a policy so can be dropped as if it didn’t matter. By this I mean, does there exist an imperative to somehow achieve EU patent membership despite all other factors such as preparing for Brexit? If not, then surely this gets referred to the new Minister for Brexit? Alternatively, which vested interest can get to her first/more effectively??”

The Minister for Brexit is David Davis, who is a reasonably OK politician, based on his policies and stances in the areas of technology. He does listen to technology activists and sometimes sides with them, based on his long track record (covered here in passing). He ought to be wise enough to know that the UPC would be a disaster for technology companies in the UK, unlike perhaps patent lawyers from London.

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