Managing IP Market Trends Report 2023 published
The report, which is about the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC), features survey data analysis and interviews with patent practitioners
The unitary patent and UPC system came into effect on June 1 2023, providing the opportunity to obtain a patent and a single forum for resolving disputes across all participating member states.
The European Commission believes the new system—the biggest change to patent protection in Europe in a generation—will incentivise R&D, reduce costs, and promote technology transfer while also making litigation simpler and more effective.
But what do users think? Before the launch of the new system, Managing IP obtained views from more than 3,500 people worldwide during the research for its annual rankings and awards. The majority of the respondents were private practice and in-house IP practitioners. The most striking finding was the high level of uncertainty about the new system right up to the launch.
More than three-quarters of in-house counsel and nearly six in 10 IP specialists in private practice did not know whether the new system would be a success. Of those that expressed an opinion, however, many more were optimistic than positive: a ratio of 8:1 for in-house counsel and 5.5:1 for private practice. Those that did not think it would be a success gave reasons for their views, ranging from increased complexity to limited financial benefits, too much uncertainty, and increased incentives to game the system.
When asked directly whether they would use the new system, 60% of in-house counsel were not sure, but more said “Yes” than “No”. Respondents in chemicals, energy and engineering sectors were most enthusiastic, while those in universities/non-profits, retail and apparel were less so. Those in very large companies were more likely to say they planned to use the system than those in very small ones, which may be a concern given that it is designed to promote accessibility for SMEs.
Uncertainty was also evident when in-house counsel were asked whether they were prepared for the new system, with the majority saying they didn’t know, though those in the EMEA region were slightly better prepared than those in others. Again, respondents in industries where patents are important were generally better prepared than those in other industries, though it was surprising to see a relative lack of preparedness among universities/non-profits and the automotive and finance industries.
Among in-house counsel, there was a slight preference for using patent attorney firms compared to law firms for work before the UPC, suggesting that the new system may be seen as closer to EPO proceedings than litigation in national courts. Time will prove if that expectation is correct.
To supplement the findings of the survey, we conducted a series of one-on-one interviews with in-house counsel and patent specialists in private practice, which are published in full. These were done in November and December 2023 and provide perspectives on how the system is functioning six months on from launch.
The Managing IP Market Trends Report 2023 was written by James Nurton. Subscribers can read the full report and interviews here.
About our Market Trends Reports
The Managing IP Market Trends Report provides an in-depth analysis of the key issues and developments and their potential impact on the IP market. The report is based on survey data and/or interviews with relevant stakeholders.
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