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4 July 2012
London will host a 'thematic' branch of the newly agreed Unified Patent Court, following a Law Society campaign to help the UK Government understand its economic impact.
At its meeting on 29 June, the European Council agreed the final details of the Unified Patent Court, which will administer a new unitary patent that will be valid in up to 25 European countries.
In May, an independent report commissioned by the Law Society, the Intellectual Property Lawyer's Association and the City of London Law Society found that having the Central Division in London could bring up to £3 billion to the UK economy.
Law Society President, John Wotton, said:“We're very pleased that the Government was receptive to our concerns and those of the wider IP community. The Law Society and its partners worked hard to convince the government of the importance of this issue, and we've witnessed a huge change in their position from last November. The Government had previously indicated they did not consider negotiating on the court a high priority, and we're very glad that our report, and the work we conducted around it convinced them otherwise.
“It's disappointing that the UK won't be hosting the Central Division, particularly given the strength of our bid. London has shown it can provide low cost, high quality court systems, and has a world-class judiciary that excels in the field of patent litigation. It would also have been more logical for divisions in the court's branches to be based upon the language of the patent.
“With this in mind, it remains a positive outcome for London, which was up against competitive bids from France and Germany. The UK has secured some significant areas that recognise the quality of the UK's IP professionals and infrastructure. In particular, biotechnology and pharmaceutical patents are growth areas that will help contribute towards London's aspiration to be the European centre for commercial litigation and arbitration.“
London's branch of the court will cover patents under classification A (human necessities) and classification C (chemistry). These areas include agriculture, medical science, clothing, petrochemicals, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.