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MIP Spring PDF: uncertain future for UPC


The Unified Patent Court takes centre stage in our latest PDF

Our latest quarterly PDF leads on the Unified Patent Court, a project that has been tantalisingly close for so long now that its launch still seems more like fiction than reality. However, as the new court really does appear to be on the path to creation – probably by early next year – intellectual property stakeholders are beginning to dust off their notebooks and revise what it all means for them.

The problem for those running the UPC is that any appetite for the new project and its associated unitary patent doesn’t appear to be healthy – at least from in-house counsel. There is marginally more desire from non-practising entities, but even they want to watch from the side-lines and see how things pan out before they act. In short, everyone is waiting for everyone else to make the first move.

This, I think, should worry those working to implement the UPC. A huge amount of time and resources have been focused on bringing the court to life. It has faced many twists and turns, not least a long-running constitutional saga in Germany. It will, unbelievably, be 10 years in February 2023 since the UPC Agreement was signed in Brussels. A decade on, the countries and authorities backing this new framework must be very careful that it doesn’t become a white elephant, because there is a risk of that happening – at least at first.

In the long term, I suspect, the UPC has a strong chance of becoming a hub for European patent litigation as companies become familiar with the new system. But there’s no telling how many years we will have to wait. In the meantime, the metaverse and blockchain are also hot topics in IP, as are diversity and inclusion and the America Invents Act – and you can read expert articles on these issues and many more in the following pages.

The crisis in Ukraine is also having a major impact on IP, with several law firms and IP offices cutting ties with Russia and the Russian government responding to sanctions by blithely removing core IP legal protection. We at Managing IP are watching with horror the suffering of the Ukrainian people amid the unconscionable invasion of their country. Although we and our parent company Euromoney Institutional Investor are stopping all business in Russia both with customers and with suppliers, Managing IP’s journalists are continuing to report on events as they pertain to IP.  



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