On 10 and 12 December, Bristows chaired panels at the Managing Intellectual Property European Patent Reform Forum USA 2014 in San Jose and New York. The Forum was attended by US based practitioners, experts and academics and addressed a number of aspects of the new European patent with unitary effect (the “unitary patent”) and the Unified Patent Court (UPC).
During Bristows’ panel discussion, James Boon, Robert Burrows, Liz Cohen and Richard Pinckney explained the UPC and discussed advanced litigation planning for the new system. Bristows’ panellists guided the discussion and debate around three important issues. First, the potential significant impact for both patentees and potential defendants of a pan-European injunction. Second, the need for patentees to start considering now whether or not to opt out their European patents from the new system. Given the uncertainties surrounding the effect of the opt-out and therefore the impact of a decision to opt out it is clear that careful advanced planning is important.Third, existing and future licence and collaboration agreements should be reviewed to ensure that they are fit for purpose in the new regime. For example, licensees have no power to opt out a European patent and so adequate provision for this should be provided as necessary and the rules on co-ownership in the new regime will also need to be considered.