05-25-2016NewsNewsEuropean Unitary Patent

EU Patent Alert #2/2016 – Bill adopted by the German federal government, Brexit referendum

A crucial stage is beginning in the implementation of the proposed EU patent: The German federal government adopted the relevant bill today, and in the United Kingdom, the Brexit referendum will soon decide indirectly on the EU patent as well. That is reason enough to report this time in a little more detail and to offer brief informational telephone conferences on June 28, 2016.

On May 25, 2016, the Federal Cabinet adopted the bill to reform the European patent system. This sets the legislative process in motion, which will include ratification of the relevant international agreement on a unitary patent and the corresponding court system. In order to enter into force, a corresponding legislative act will be required, in particular by the German parliament. – What is interesting about the bill is that the double patenting prohibition is supposed to fall. In the future, a patent applicant will be able to protect the same invention by a German national patent and by a European patent, thus making national applications more interesting. After all, it is a fundamental disadvantage of the planned unitary patent that it may be destroyed, thus effective for all participating Member States, with a single central action for invalidation. If the patentee, as now planned, can additionally also have a German national patent, it would not be affected by the central European invalidation decision. Rather, the national patent could still be enforced in national courts, and the Federal Patents Court (2nd instance: the Federal Court of Justice) would decide on legal validity. The proposed legislation of the Federal Cabinet therefore paves the way for the unitary patent, while also strengthening the national patent system. Our projection: Numerous applicants will increasingly use the dual-application approach.

June 23, 2016 will be a fateful day for Europe and the EU patent. On June 23, 2016, the "Brexit referendum" will be held in the United Kingdom. If "Remain" wins, the EU unitary patent is likely to enter into force next year, and all companies should take time to prepare for that. Should a majority vote for "Leave," however, serious and potentially irreparable harm may be caused to the EU. The EU unitary patent would have failed. European Community trademarks and designs could no longer be registered with effect in the United Kingdom after the UK leaves the EU. Either way: After the Brexit referendum, a great need for action will arises in the field of IP.

Therefore, shortly after the Brexit referendum, we are offering brief informational conference calls specifically on June 28, 2016. In 30 minutes, the most important items will be discussed. 20 minutes of presentation will be followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. Free of charge and non-binding. A brief response email with the desired date will be sufficient to register for one of the sessions. – If you are interested in participating, but not available on any of the below dates, please contact us nevertheless. We are expected to offer more sessions.

Conference calls:
Tuesday, June 28, 2016: 9 am (English), 11 am (German), 3 pm (German), 6 pm (English)
Brexit referendum and IP
"Remain" wins: How do companies prepare for the EU patent? Should they use the new validation option and/or national patent systems? Opt-out for existing EP patents? Will the risk of being sued increase, for example, by patent trolls? Do companies need to prepare for US conditions and corresponding risks? Impact on collaboration and licensing agreements.
"Leave" wins: Do I have to apply for patents, trademarks and designs separately in the UK now? How do I proceed from here?

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