Friday, 12 April 2013

Europe's new patent landscape: the first book

Introduction to the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court. The (Draft) Rules of Procedure of the Unified Patent Court is one of the longest book-titles to have emerged in the field of IP law this year. The title in question is highly topical, and the authors -- Pieter Callens and Sam Granata -- can be congratulated on the speed with which they have put it together.  As the publishers explain:
"The long-awaited European Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court will soon become a reality. Companies, research institutions, and individuals will be able to obtain not only a patent title with immediate effect in 25 EU Member States, but also a court decision on (for example) infringement or validity of a European or Unitary patent with effect in the participating Member States. Everybody involved in European patenting will find enormously welcome guidance in this extraordinary book. 
Written by two outstanding intellectual property experts – one being a lawyer who had a hand in the development of the unitary patent and the other being a reputed Belgian intellectual property judge – it describes in detail all the provisions regarding the new patent and the new court, explaining their rationales and the processes that led to them. 
Although the Rules of Procedure of the Unified Patent Court still need to be finalized and adopted by the Court, the authors already unravel the proposed Draft Rules of Procedure. The book uses flowcharts [these being contained in a 40-page supplement] as well as plain words to represent each procedural stage of the Draft Rules of Procedure. In this way, a practitioner can focus on each distinct stage as required, while also gaining a comprehensive overview of the proceedings. The complex language issues arising throughout the proceedings are analysed in detail in a supplementary part. 
For its deeply informed insights into the expected practical functioning of this revolutionary new patent and litigation system, this work is a peerless contribution that will ensure the most effective practice as this new regime begins. For legal scholars, the book offers the opportunity to analyse, criticize, elaborate, and where necessary improve the current Draft Rules of Procedure of the Unified Patent Court before they are finalized, and advise the governments of the participating Member States on how to implement the new court system in their country".
The book opens with an historical introduction and a little bit about how Belgium broke the deadlock -- something for which the tiny Kingdom will either be blessed or execrated in years to come -- and then goes on to provide an extensive analysis of the new scheme.  The bit that covers the draft Rules owes much to the contribution to Willem Hoyng, as the authors acknowledge.

I have no doubt that a second edition is already under preparation, subject to anything that the Court of Justice of the European Union might have to say about the legal basis for the EU's new patent regime, that is.

Bibliographic data: hardback with paperback supplement. ISBN 9041147578; ISBN 13: 9789041147578 xxi and 298 pages. US$ $169. Web pages here and here.

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