Thursday, 28 February 2013

FAST welcomes new patent court arrangements

Palais de Justice? No:
gare du Nord ...
While many commentators complain that the United Kingdom has done nothing but moan about the recently-concluded package for patents in Europe, PatLit can confirm that at least one British-based body is taking a positive view of it: the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) -- whose members are listed here -- could scarcely have taken a more rosy view if it tried, as the following media release suggests:
FAST welcomes arrival of Unified Patent Court in London 
Move promises to assist SMEs in the protection of their Intellectual Property

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has welcomed news of the introduction of the Unified Patent Court’s Central Division in London [which is curious -- but London gets to litigate pharmaceuticals and life sciences], suggesting that it promises to aid access to the mechanisms which help to support Intellectual Property (IP).

Business Secretary Vince Cable has finalised a deal for a new patent court to be based in London. The new court and patent system will create a one-stop shop making it both easier and cheaper for companies to protect their business inventions in Europe.

FAST’s General Counsel, Julian Heathcote Hobbins, has welcomed the news [even though software patents -- which it may be presumed to be of some interest to FAST's members -- are to be litigated in Paris], suggesting that it represents a significant step in the Government’s on-going positive agenda and a welcome development for those who create patented technology which requires significant upfront investment and conviction of belief in the product:
“Securing finance for innovation is tough and depends upon a strong and accessible IP regime. Those developing innovative technical solutions need the ability to secure and enforce registered rights without undue barriers. Traditionally patents gained in more than one European Country have been costly to secure and enforce and arguably only the budgets of the larger rights holders have been able to endure. Technology SMEs and micro businesses who can patent inventions made from software-plus-kit need realistic access to patent protection in order to underpin the chances of IP for growth success [micro-businesses had better start checking their travel arrangements, then. It's Paris first, then on to Luxembourg for the appeal]. However it is possible that such a development could cut both ways, as a micro tech business could be on the end of a pan European injunction. Only time will tell as the costs of using the new system are yet to be made clear.”
Larry Cohen, an IP Litigation Partner at Latham & Watkins and member of FAST’s Legal Advisory Group (FLAG) said: 
“This is a big step forward, although as there is an opt out mechanism for patentees, take up may be slower than desired. Amongst hoped-for advantages are that the procedures of the unified court will take the best of the Continental and British systems, lowering litigation costs while widening coverage, and that the need to oppose grant early by an opposition in the EPO may diminish significantly as patents will be able to be revoked on a pan EU basis (except for opt out countries) only when enforcement is threatened.” 
FAST’s new CEO, Alex Hilton, concluded: 
“It’s vital that the industry can go forward with commercial certainty in creating products where their investments are protected and properly rewarded. We must work to support the software industry, and bolster the creative industries at large, to fuel employment and encourage growth through the development of the IP asset base.”


Anonymous said...

Of course if infringement of a software patent was taking place in the UK, then the action might be heard in London. And if the court did not choose to bifircate then travelling off to Paris might not be necessary. Those airplane tickets to Luxembourg might still come in handy though.

Gibus said...

Don't you think it is quite hilarious, given repeated assertions, for instance by Commissionner Barnier or by European Parliament's rapporteur Bernhard Rapkay, that the unitary patent package has nothing to do with software patents?

I've debunked these lies here.