Friday, 20 February 2009

UK Patent Tribunal practice: the conclusions emerge ...

If you appear before the Patent Tribunal in the UK, or even if you don't, you may be interested in the following statement from the Intellectual Property Office: 
"Review of Practice before the Patent Tribunal
In order to identify ways in which the Office might cater better for the needs of those wanting to litigate patents, an internal review of practice before its patent tribunal began in March 2008. With the objective of making patent litigation before the Office more accessible and less expensive in terms of time and money, the Office has sought views on how the tribunal might be improved from attorneys, solicitors, counsel and others. There have also been discussions with the European Patent Office and other national Offices to discover how litigation is conducted elsewhere in Europe.

Overall there has been an enthusiastic response with numerous ideas and suggestions worthy of serious consideration. Many of these have the potential to improve access to patent litigation significantly".
An Emerging Conclusions document, consisting of some 11 pages, has been prepared (here) and all are welcome to pass comments on it.  Here's an extract:
The most promising ideas

One hearing officer appointed at the outset to manage a case from beginning to end; 
Non-appealable, written, preliminary evaluation(s) prior to a hearing; 
Directions on the evidence stages – simultaneous or sequential exchange of evidence; 
Normally no more than 14 days notice of case management conferences/preliminary hearings; 
Summaries of case/skeletons filed no later than 10 days before a hearing; 
Hearings held at any location within the UK when appropriate; 
Hearings held soon after the final evidence round and normally concluded within 2 days; 
Greater use of technology; Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) promoted more widely.
The deadline for submission of comments is Friday 20 March 2009.  Please send your thoughts to Barney Wright, Room 1.B82, The Intellectual Property Office, Concept House, Cardiff Road, Newport, NP10 8QQ or email them here.Says the IPO,
"Comments received will help shape a Tribunal Practice Notice which will set out changes to the existing practice as it relates to patent litigation before the Office".
You can also let everyone else see your comments if you send them to me at PatLit.

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