One step closer: Europe's Unified Patents Court finds a home in the City

The UK Government has now selected a location just on the edge of the City of London for the EU's Unified Patents Court. This will house the London section of the Central Division, with specific jurisdiction in the life sciences areas, a major contributor to the UK economy. With this decision the Unified Patents Court looks one significant step closer to being a part of IP strategy for all innovative businesses wishing to do business in Europe.

IP Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe attended a reception last week to mark the selection of some real space on the edge of the City, with displays of plans for the layout of the four proposed four court rooms and numerous conference rooms for those involved in disputes. The reception was attended by many of those who have put (and are still putting) the substantial effort into bringing this dream of more than 50 years to fruition, and to securing a good location for the UPC.  

Guests included Viscount Younger (former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Intellectual Property), patents court judges Sir Colin Birss and Sir Richard Arnold, as well as representatives from the patent professions and the Intellectual Property Office who have spent so much time working on this project. 

The selected location is in Aldgate Tower – and on a rainy evening on Wednesday was still accessible virtually directly from Aldgate East Tube station. The reception was held in the as yet open plan space, with superb views across London. 

Alasdair Poore attended as a representative from the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys. He explains that:

“The space and proximity to the City should give a well deserved profile to the court in London, something for which the UK, and in particular the IPO have strived very hard over the last few years.”  

This brings to life Alasdair's comments over four years ago to Nikki Tait of the Financial Times (19 May 2011) highlighting the importance of having a court that could adjudicate on EU-wide patents.

'"The introduction of a European patents court is seen by many as an essential ingredient to the introduction of a unitary European patent," says Alasdair Poore, president of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and partner at the Mills & Reeve law firm.

"In the absence of a single well-respected court, businesses might find that their patent protection had been invalidated by a national court with almost no experience of patents. Will they therefore be willing to risk all their investment in Europe depending on such a decision?"'

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