In an open letter published February 25th 2014 addressed to the Unified Patent Court, a coalition of companies and trade associations including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung, repeated concerns raised last September regarding the rules of procedure of the UPC. See our post in the previous letter here.
This recent letter did not raise new concerns but insisted on the need for rules on judicial guidance, bifurcation and injunctions, in order to prevent patent trolls to abuse the new court. This consortium of companies argues that rules enabling courts to decide invalidity and infringement separately could mean that invalid patents will be held to be infringed. They also believe that judges may be persuaded to grant broad injunctions on valid patents, and fear that the probability of the UPC being flooded by Patent trolls will be increased by legal uncertainty deriving from an absence of appropriate rules on bifurcation and injunctions for judges. However as “Managing IP” suggests “judges may be less keen to bifurcate cases than many companies fear (…) partly because they would be reluctant to see part of the case off to another court in a different country, possibly conducted in another language.” (Managing IP 26/02/2014)
The sixteenth draft of the rules of procedure released on March 06th 2014 however does not bring any change related to bifurcation or injunction thus indicating that the UPC followed the Rules Committee’s position against being prescriptive and does not consider this issue to be a problem.
The Legal Group of the Preparatory Committee, chaired by Germany’s Johannes Karcher, will now consider the draft set of rules at the level of participating EU member states. It plans to hold a hearing later this year on the suggested amendments to the text. The hearing is expected to be in September or October. (Managing IP 07/03/2014)
Now that the final draft of the rules of procedure has been released do you think that they will allow an easy access to the UPC by Patent Trolls? Do you share the Apple, Blackberry or Google’s point of view? Or are you confident that the UPC has taken so far the necessary measures to protect itself against what cost the US economy $500 billion over the last 20 years according to Corporate Counsel?
You can find the latest draft of the Rules of Procedure (18th) here .