Bonum Certa Men Certa

Yesterday's Misleading News From Team UPC and Its Aspiring Management of the Unified Patent Court (UPC)

Alexander Ramsay, Bristows, and the UPC gold rush
Rumours said that Battistelli intended to pursue the top position in the UPC (reserved for a French person)



Summary: The Unified Patent Court (UPC) enthusiasts -- i.e. those looking to financially gain from it -- continue to wrestle with logic, manipulate words and misrepresent the law; yesterday we saw many law firms trying to make it sound as though the UPC is coming to the UK even though this isn't possible and UPC as a whole is likely already dead

Team UPC and EPO management (notably Battistelli and his chosen colleagues at the top) have long spread lies about the Unitary Patent or Unified Patent Court (UPC). This isn't entirely surprising because lying has become the norm in those circles. We'd like to take a moment to remark on belated coverage from patent law firms, which continue to twist words for the "greater good" which is their profits.



"...there's nothing in the paper that suggests 'unitary' patent participation, only aspiration to "explore" the possibility/prospect."Some UPC spin was posted yesterday by Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review, a site which champions the "Life Science" agenda (calling life itself a science to facilitate patents on life/nature); the British government admits the issue with UPC and then issues a paper which is instantaneously distorted by Team UPC, as one might expect. Well, there's nothing in the paper that suggests 'unitary' patent participation, only aspiration to "explore" the possibility/prospect. Now watch what this site made of it, citing a legal expert/firm:

Truscott noted that while it’s a relief to see IP specifically mentioned, there remains significant uncertainty around the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the unitary patent. The life sciences section of the UPC’s central division is planned to be based in London.

“The UK has ratified the UPC Agreement and intends to explore staying in the court and unitary patent system after the UK leaves the EU,” said the White Paper.

Whether this is possible will depend on the ability for the participants to agree to modify the existing agreement, said Truscott.

He added: “This could ultimately be beneficial if it were to allow for other non-EU countries to join, so that the UPC could perhaps ultimately act as the court for all contracting states to the European Patent Convention and provide a true one-stop shop for litigants.”

For Bacon, the UPC system would represent the most important change ever seen in the European patent landscape, and the continued involvement of the UK would be welcomed by the life sciences industry.


The "life sciences industry"? That's just a euphemism for an 'industry' that's pursuing patents on life -- something which is currently not legal in pertinent European nations. Speaking of this "life science/s" label, mind Patent Docs pushing this envelope again yesterday (by Bryan Helwig) and the same in Managing IP yesterday. "In-house counsel, private practice lawyers and scientists discussed life sciences advancements such as the move towards personalised medicines, at the Hogan Lovells Life Sciences Summit," Patrick Wingrove wrote.

"The "life sciences industry"? That's just a euphemism for an 'industry' that's pursuing patents on life -- something which is currently not legal in pertinent European nations."Team UPC hopes that UPC can miraculously expand patent scope overnight, enabling for example software patents and patents on life/nature in member states where these are currently illegal. They try to bypass national courts and national patent offices. It's pretty obvious.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's Mark Shillito, Laura Deacon and Peter FitzPatrick have also just written about the above. Quoting the relevant part:

Opinions vary on the likelihood of whether the UK could continue as part of the UPC and Unitary patent system post-Brexit. The Foreword to the White Paper by the Prime Minister states that the proposals in the White Paper would end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK. It is not clear whether the UK would nevertheless accept the role of the European Court of Justice in respect of references from the UPC on matters of European law.


They cannot. They said so just a couple of weeks back. Novagraaf (another legal firm) said this yesterday:

On the former, it announced plans to establish its own GI scheme after exit; on the latter, it simply states that it ‘intends to explore’ staying in the Unified Patent Court and UP system after the UK leaves the EU (click here for more on the unitary patent).


The key part is "explore" or "intends to explore". This is not actually possible and the government knows it. But Bristows is now paying (we assume) that same site to push its lie that "UK confirms it will seek to remain in the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court after Brexit" (that word, "confirms" being the word of choice, has been common among UPC boosters).

"Team UPC hopes that UPC can miraculously expand patent scope overnight, enabling for example software patents and patents on life/nature in member states where these are currently illegal."Here is another new analysis from yesterday (there were about half a dozen yesterday alone) and a new comment from IP Kat, citing Article 23 EPC:

I think that you are slightly missing the point that I was trying to make about possible actions of the President of the UPC (Court of Appeal). My point was not that legal mechanisms exist that a "malign" President could validly exploit. Rather, it was that the mechanisms to counter a "malign" President that has overstepped the mark (ie contravened the rules) are unreliable, toothless and/or non-existent.

Ten years ago, and based upon Article 23 EPC, one could have made the case that there was "legally no risk that a judge, how irksome he might be, be removed from office by the President of the EPO". We all know how that worked out in practice.


It is meanwhile being reported that "UKIPO patent applications decline" (news headline) and this doesn't sound like a negative thing if patents are more selectively applied for, e.g. based on better quality/higher bar. To quote:

Patent applications made directly to the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) have seen a decline between 1995 and 2017.

According to a report on trends from the UKIPO, there was a decline in patent applications at the office, but applications filed at the European Patent Office (EPO) are continuing to rise, especially those filed at the EPO designating the UK.

The report notes that Brexit is a possible reason why applicants are seeking alternate routes.

Also highlighted, is the increase of international applications filed using the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

Applicants of UK residency make up the greatest share of applications at UKIPO, although the share of applications from non-residents increased to 40 percent in 2017.


"UK trademark applications soar over 22-year period," another new headline (WIPR) said yesterday, so it's not as though UKIPO is running out of work. In fact, it claims to be hiring.

"It's passing all the powers to patent maximalists in the same way copyright maximalists strive to take total, complete control over the EU."Another article of interest was published yesterday by Allen & Overy LLP's Marjan Noor and James Fox under the headline "English Court of Appeal rejects the EPO’s “serious contemplation” test for anticipation by prior disclosure overlapping with later patent. This makes one wonder what will happen to confidence in European Patents:

In the case of Jushi Group v OCV [2018] EWCA Civ 1416, the Court of Appeal has considered the question of the relevant test to apply when assessing whether a prior disclosure of numerical ranges will anticipate a later claim to overlapping numerical ranges.

The Patent at issue relates to the composition of a type of glass which is capable of being formed into fibres. Claim 1 of the Patent specifies a list of constituents for the claimed glass, along with a range of percentages by weight for each constituent as a proportion of the whole.

A prior art patent called “Neely”, referred to in the description of the Patent, disclosed a glass with the same constituents and similarly specified the percentage by weight as a proportion of the whole. It was common ground that the range of each of seven of the constituents in Neely fell entirely within the ranges specified in the Patent for that same constituent, and the ranges for a further six constituents overlapped with them.


UPC is all about taking low-quality European Patents to court, fast-tracking potential sanctions (like embargo, raids) without hearings in the accused party's language, without proper chance of appeal in one's national courts, without assurance of independence for judges and so on. It's like DMCA takdowns. UPC is tarnishing the stated goals of the EU in the same sense that the "link tax" and "censorship machines" (copyright proposals) do. It's passing all the powers to patent maximalists in the same way copyright maximalists strive to take total, complete control over the EU. The copyright maximalists have thus far failed (the first round at least); so will patent maximalists.

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