On 5 and 6 February a two day conference on recent developments with regard to the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court was held in Amsterdam. The conference was well attended by legal counsels from Nokia, Nestlé, Ablynx, Hoffmann-La Roche, Michelin, Air Liquide, Pfizer, Syngenta, AstraZeneca, Shell and other companies as well as patent attorneys and lawyers.
Keynote speakers included Paul van Beukering, chairman of the UPC Preparatory Committee, Kevin Mooney from the drafting committee on the Rules of Procedure, Margot Fröhlinger, Principal Director Patent Law and Multilateral Affairs of the EPO and Wouter Pors, head of IP for Bird & Bird in The Netherlands, who presented on patent strategies.
The first day was chaired by Richard Vary, Head of Litigation at Nokia and included a patent judges panel comprising Matthias Zigann (Munich), Carl Josefsson (Stockholm) and Peter Blok (The Hague). The industry panel included our firm’s clients Nestlé, Ablynx, Michelin and Shell.
This year’s conference was clearly no longer an introduction to the topic, but the stage for in-depth discussions that show how the Unitary Patent Package is a landslide which will turn 25 countries into one territory for patent protection, serving 400 million consumers.
The roundtable discussion on the first day revealed that patent litigation in Munich and Mannheim will most likely be available in English without limitations after all and the opt-out fee for keeping patents in the national courts will not exceed € 100. On the second day, a lively debate between Thierry Sueur of Business Europe and Margot Fröhlinger led to the conclusion that renewal fees for Unitary Patents will most likely equal current fees for 4 to 5 countries, which is the first time ever that a concrete amount was mentioned. In the last session Wouter took the audience on a tour through an imaginary case in the Milan division of the UPC. Given the success of this issue, it may even be less than a year until the next Euroforum UPP conference.