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Unitary patent on the agenda on World IP Day

The UK's IP minister reaffirmed the country's support for a unitary patent at an event to mark World IP Day yesterday

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Intellectual Property Awareness Network (IPAN) Baroness Wilcox said: "We're almost there. The unitary patent will bring real benefits."

But she added that discussions were continuing on the location of the central division of the court. "The location of the central division is important and the best city is London," she said. It is believed that European governments are debating whether the central division should be in London, Munich or Paris, with lawyers in each country lobbying strongly for their own cities.

While a decision was expected by June, Wilcox suggested that the UK at least wants to take time to get the rules of the sytem right, and protect the UK's interests. "Our big concern is to make sure the same set of rules is applied everywhere," she said.

Wilcox also said that it is "imperative for patent offices to work together to find solutions to the enormous backlog" of patent applications. She said the promotion of patent prosecution highways and the improvement of the PCT system were central to this aim.

Pete Wishart MP, who hosted the seminar in the Houses of Parliament, said MPs are becoming increasingly interested in IP debates and aware of the value of IP. He described it as "a growing movement and a growing issue".

Also speaking at the seminar were Guriqbal Singh Jaiya from WIPO; Emma Wild of the CBI; Richard Hooper, who is conducting a study into the feasibility of a digital copyright exchange; Dids Macdonald of ACID; and Peter Prowse of IPAN.

Pete Wishart and Richard Hooper have both recently been interviewed in Managing IP.

In Brussels, meanwhile, the European Commission held the latest stage of its consultation on the IP Enforcement Directive, with a day-long conference. A new industry group to promote IP, Ideas Matter, was also launched.

Across the Atlantic

In the Americas, World IP Day was celebrated with discussions, debates and cocktails.

In Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Institute of Intellectual Property (INPI) held an event to outline the Office's existing and planned reforms. The day also included a roundtable discussion and release of the Catálogo de Indicações Geográficas Brasileiras – a book of Brazilian geographic indications.

In the United States, the Institute for Policy Innovation held a daytime forum featuring James Pooley of WIPO and other key IP speakers to share insight on IP, business and politics in the US and around the world. The event continued later in the day with a cocktail reception at the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill and remarks by Pooley, Shira Perlmutter of the USPTO and Congressman Darrell Issa, who opposed the anti-online piracy SOPA and PIPA bills.

To read about World IP Day events in Asia, click here.

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