Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Undermined by Hamsters - T 1846/10

The decision T 1846/10 of one of the EPOs technical boards of appeal relates to a method for cultivating live vaccines. The method includes cultivating attenuated L. intracellularis bacteria to obtain strains which are apathogenic, immunogenic and genetically stable.

Paragraph [0043] of the patent states that:

"Generally, an attenuated immunogenic L. intracellularis strain is produced after continuous culture for between at least about 150 and 250 days, during which time the culture is passaged at least about 7 to about 12 times."

Pursuant to the patent, serially passaged bacteria are tested in host animals for signs of attenuation. Tests were then carried out with various host animals including hamsters (example 5) and pigs (example 6) and it turned out that no immunogenic effect could be proven for hamsters (example 5).

The opponent used this as a basis for his argument that the disclosure of the patent did not enable the skilled person to carry out the invention without undue burden. The patentee responded as follows (cited from margin numbers 28 and 29 of the decision, epmphasis added):
The respondent submitted that for an objection of lack of sufficiency of disclosure to succeed there must be serious doubts, substantiated by verifiable facts, that the invention can in fact be carried out by the average person skilled in the art without undue experimentation or inventive skills (see decision T 19/90, reasons, point 3.3). Since the burden of proof lies with the appellant (the opponent), it was necessary to provide experimental evidence that the invention could not be carried. This had not been done.

In the board's judgement, verifiable facts are
(i) that example 5 of the patent was carried out in line with the general teaching of the patent,
(ii) that the percentage of animals which developed enteritis in example 5 was the same between the group vaccinated with the culture of a high passage strain of L. intracellularis and the non-vaccinated group, and
(iii) that the histological lesions were worse in the vaccinated group (the evidence supporting this fact being in paragraph [0103] and the table on page 17 of the patent).

Therefore, the board concludes that example 5 of the patent provides verifiable facts which raise serious doubts that the invention can in fact be carried out by the average person skilled in the art without undue experimentation or inventive skills by following the guidance provided in the patent. Under these circumstances, no additional experimental evidence from the appellant is required as it can rely on the evidence provided by the patent itself. The board concludes that the appellant has discharged its burden of proof.
As a note to retain for the practice: be careful mentioning embodiments for which the invention does not properly work. These might be used against the patent for an attack based on insufficiency of disclosure. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

What happens to the UPC if the UK leaves the EU?

From the most recent Rouse newsletter comes some highly pertinent information and some thoughtful comment on a question that this blogger is frequently asked:
What will happen to the UPC [that's the Unified Patent Court] if the UK leaves the EU?

Will the planned referendum on the UK's continued membership of the EU delay the opening of the UPC? It appears the UK Intellectual Property Office has had this question in mind, since after months of speculation, it released the following statement to the IPKat blog, last week:
"The Government is committed to this project and wants the UK to be part of a European patent system that supports growth and fosters innovation. The Prime Minister was personally involved in the negotiations on the Unitary Patent regulations [so you know who to blame or bless, depending on your point of view] and the UPC Agreement and the UK is taking an active role in the current work to implement the new system.

There is still work to be done before the UK can ratify the Agreement, and I am committed to pressing ahead with this. It is the Government’s intention for our domestic preparations to be completed by Spring 2016".
Questions remain as to how much money the UK government will be prepared to invest in setting up the UK Divisions of the UPC before the planned referendum. The statement is notably silent on when the Government intends to ratify the UPC Agreement. Even if it is proposing to ratify in 2016, will it want to secure a venue, administrative staff and IT system for the UK Divisions of the Court before this date, or is it likely to defer this investment? Indeed, might it delay ratification itself until after the 2017 referendum leading to inevitable delay to the UPC? [this blogger assumes that a delay until after the referendum is the course of action that is both easiest to implement and simplest to justify, given the uncertainties and the need to avoid incurring wasted expense]

If the UK votes to leave the EU, it must also leave the UPC and UP although there is nothing to stop the new system continuing without the UK. However, it may well be less attractive to patentees and litigants if the UK is excluded. We would also expect the London branch of the Central Division to be moved elsewhere -- possibly to the Netherlands which is the fourth biggest patent filing country in the EU. However, regardless of the UK's participation, the new system will still offer costs savings for patent protection and litigation covering a territory that is home to hundreds of millions of consumers.

Implicit disclosure in prior art - a matter of fact? - "Coenzym Q10"

Skilled person reproducing the prior art
Appeal proceedings in German nullity actions are limited to the examination of errors of law. The Supreme Court is therefore bound by the facts established by the court of first instance, unless specific grounds justifying doubts about their correctness or completeness exist (§ 117 of the Patents Act § 529(1) Nr. 1 ZPO).

This is, however, hardly perceivable in real life patent nullity appeal proceedings because the discussions mostly turn around the question of patentability, sometimes enablement and all of these are considered to be questions of law (see e.g. BGH "Stabilisierung der Wasserqualität") and therefore fully re-examined in the 2nd instance. The above exclusion of questions of fact is therefore, in practice, mostly limited to factual circumstances of prior use.

In the decision "Coenzym Q10", the BGH establishes a further group of cases where the examination is precluded. It relates to the specific case of implicit disclosure where carrying out the teaching of the prior art is said to inevitably lead to a product falling under the scope of the claim, wherein the product itself (or the properties thereof) are not explicitly described. These cases leave plenty of room for speculations on what the skilled person might or might not have experienced when reproducing the prior art.

The BGH rules (in a rough translation by the author of this note) that ".... judgements of the Patent Court supporting the conclusion that reproducing an embodiment in a document of the prior art lead to the realization of a feature of the subject-matter of the patent in suit are binding for the appeal procedure unless specific indications justifying doubts in their correctness exist"

Inventive step: is 'long felt want' still worth arguing?

VPG Systems UK Ltd v Air-Weigh Europe Ltd [2015] EWHC 1862 (IPEC), is a tidy little decision of Judge Richard Hacon, sitting in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, England and Wales, on 1 July, where the court found that VPG's patent for a device for indicating to the driver of a commercial vehicle that load limits for that vehicle had been reached or exceeded was invalid as lacking an inventive step [this is the second blogpost on issues arising between these parties: here's the first].

Of particular interest to this blogger is the judge's comment at [66]:
"I would only add this. No argument of long felt want was run by VPG. Superficially one might have expected an argument of that kind in these proceedings. The evidence from the experts suggested that this was a field in which the performance of inclinometers and accelerometers was advancing at quite a rapid rate in the period leading up to the Patent's priority date. Had long felt want been run, it is possible that it was around 2006 when such advances made a system of the type claimed in the Patent commercially attractive. As it is, long felt want was not enrolled to assist VPG's case so the change in performance of inclinometers is neutral".
'Long felt want' is an argument that had its heyday in the previous century, when a patent's inventive step (a.k.a. lack of obviousness) was something that was more often than not established by the application of rules of thumb which established that an invention was not obvious if, e.g., there had long been felt to be a want of it but that want had not been hitherto satisfied, or that it was obvious if it consisted of the application of a known principle for a known purpose or was reasonable for the person skilled in the art to try it. However, after (i) the Court of Appeal in Windsurfing International Inc v Tabur Marine (Great Britain) Ltd [1985] RPC 59 created a formula that looked specifically at the difference between the alleged patentable invention and the prior art and (ii) advances in computer storage, retrieval and search made the prior art far more accessible than had previously been the case, reliance on rules of thumb -- including 'long felt want' -- appears to have declined.

This is very much a personal impression, but this blogger feels that the very fact that a party raises 'long felt want' as an argument that its patent is not obvious is a flag being waved in the direction of the court that the argument in favour of there being an inventive step is a really weak one. A search of patent cases on the BAILII database suggests that the words 'long felt want' have scarcely been uttered by any British judge over the past five years.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Claim Construction First - X ZR 43/13 "Rotorelemente"

The decision X ZR 43/13 "Rotorelemente" relates to a complicated machine for punching out metal pieces. According to claim 1, the machine includes a die assembly including a first die member and a second die member for punching out different parts of the piece. The die members can be moved relative to each other in order to modify the shapes of the metal pieces, wherein the wording of claim 1 appears (at first sight) to define that the first die member is stationary and the second die member is moved.

The 1st instance (Bundespatentgericht) had ruled that this extends beyond the original disclosure, which covered only embodiments where the second die member was kept stationary.  The draftsman of the claim must have confused the two die members and the Bundespatentgericht ruled that the patent must be revoked as the claime related to another invention (Aliud).

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) did not follow this ruling. The confusion of the die members was found to be infelicitous wording (eine unglückliche Formulierung) and a proper construction of the claim in combination with the specification would have revealed that nothing but a movable first die member was meant to be claimed.

The error in judgement was due to the failure to properly define the meaning (Sinngehalt) of the claim in the light of the specification and the drawings prior to assessing whether this meaning extends beyond the scope of the original disclosure.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Precisely delineated claims and the Protocol to Article 69: two cases, two views

From our friends Brian Whitehead, Stuart Jackson and Richard Kempner of Kempner and Partners comes this handy note on some very dramatic patent litigation from England and Wales which comes under their stern scrutiny. This is what they write:
Following on from yesterday’s decision in Smith & Nephew Plc v ConvaTec Technologies Inc [noted briefly on the IPKat here], the Court of Appeal for England and Wales has today handed down another decision in relation to patents in the healthcare sector in Actavis UK Ltd v Eli Lilly & Company [2015] EWCA Civ 555.  Actavis applied for declarations of non-infringement (DNIs) in respect of the UK, French, Italian and Spanish designations of European Patent No. 1 313 508.  That patent is drafted in the Swiss form, and claim 1 is for “Use of pemetrexed disodium in the manufacture of a medicament ...”.  Actavis’ proposed product contained pemetrexed in one of three different forms: the free acid, or the ditromethamine or dipotassium salts (non-chemist readers are referred to paragraphs 76-79 of Arnold J’s decision, in which an explanation of the various terms is given).

In assessing whether there was direct infringement, unusually both Arnold J at first instance and Floyd LJ on appeal applied the Improver three-stage test – rarely applied since the seminal decision in Kirin-Amgen.  Both at first instance and on appeal, it was held that there was no direct infringement.  We can agree with that – clearly, for example, the potassium salt of an acid is a different chemical entity to the sodium salt, and it is difficult to see how “sodium” could be construed to cover “potassium”.  In any case, the sodium and potassium salts may have different properties and would require separate efficacy and safety tests.

The Court of Appeal disagreed with Arnold J, however, on the issue of indirect infringement.  The medical practitioner utilising Actavis’s proposed product is required to dissolve it in a saline solution.  That would provide an excess of sodium ions, with the result that the solution would contain, amongst other things, pemetrexed and sodium ions.  Arnold J took the view that the reference to “pemetrexed disodium” in the claim is to the solid form of that substance.  Floyd LJ disagreed, holding that
“the skilled team, particularly the chemist, would understand from the 508 patent that pemetrexed disodium is also used to refer to solutions which contain pemetrexed ions and sodium ions in solution”.   
Applying that construction, Floyd LJ held that pemetrexed dipotassium is a means relating to an essential element of the invention, and therefore the Actavis product infringes under s. 60(2) of the Patents Act 1977. 
Whereas we can follow the logic of Floyd LJ’s approach, we believe that it leads to a rather arbitrary outcome, and that Arnold J’s approach was to be preferred.  The saline solution is nothing more than an inert carrier, and if Actavis’s formulation was dissolved in another (non sodium-containing) carrier, infringement under s. 60(2) would presumably not have been made out.  In fact, according to the postscript to the judgment Actavis has now asked for a declaration of non-infringement in respect of its same formulation but using a dextrose solution instead of a saline solution.

The decision raises a number of other very interesting issues, particularly on whether (and if so under what rules) the English courts can grant declarations of non-infringement for other countries’ designations of European patents.  Doubtless these issues will be the subject of commentary, but for the time being we have focussed only on the patent construction point.

The authors, two of whom are former research chemists, also have a comment on the ConvaTec decision. We find the outcome of Kitchin LJ’s approach to be problematic, in that we cannot see how the skilled person could possibly consider a concentration of 0.5% as falling within a claimed range of "between 1 per cent and 25 per cent".  We respectfully disagree with the approaches of both Birss J and Kitchin LJ.  In our view, the skilled person would understand that reagent concentrations can never be absolutely precise, but are subject to a margin of error.  What is an acceptable margin of error will depend upon the particular purpose of the reagent.  Kitchin LJ considered that “it is clear from the teaching of the specification that the binding agent concentration is not critical in the method of this invention”.  In the circumstances, we consider that whereas the skilled person would not necessarily prepare and measure the concentration of the silver solution to the highest degree of precision (it was undisputed that the concentration can be measured to a precision of at least two decimal places), he would still prepare and measure it with a reasonable degree of accuracy.  A minimum accuracy of 10% would, we suggest, be appropriate, as that is easily achievable even without using microbalances and calibrated volumetric flasks.  That would imply that the range covered by "between 1 per cent and 25 per cent" is, at its widest, 0.9-27.5%.  The chemist (one of the members of the skilled addressee as determined by Birss J) would be unlikely even to consider the concept of significant figures, which seems to form the basis of the judge’s thinking, even if he recalled the concept from school mathematics studies.  He would, though, expect a reasonable degree of accuracy in preparation of stock solutions, even for applications not requiring a high level of precision.  A margin of error of 50%, as suggested by Kitchin LJ’s approach, would in our view be regarded as unacceptable by the chemist.  Indeed, we would challenge the competence of any lab technician who made up such a solution.
Whereas this and yesterday’s ConvaTec decision may appear to have little in common, when read together they raise an interesting issue relating to patent construction.  All readers will be familiar with the Protocol to Article 69 of the European Patent Convention (EPC), which states that claims are to be construed in such a way as to combine fair protection for the patentee with reasonable certainty for third parties.  The judges in both cases expressly referred to the Protocol, and satisfied themselves that their construction of the patents satisfied its requirements.  Given that, we consider it surprising that two patent claims, which appear on their face to be very precisely delineated, can have given rise to such a divergence of views by judges in the Courts of England and Wales.  Whereas the patentees will presumably be highly satisfied with the degree of protection they have been given, we are not sure that the results can be said to provide “reasonable certainty for third parties”.  We shall have to see whether the Supreme Court will agree to hear appeals from either, and if so whether they will disagree with one (or both!) of the courts in either case.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Splitting trials: yes, it can be done -- when there's a good reason

British Gas Services v VanClare SE LLC (2015) is an extempore 17 June judgment of Mr Justice Arnold, sitting in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) for England and Wales. While that court is technically part of the High Court, it's really the successor to the junior Patents County Court -- though High Court judges do occasionally sit in it.

This was an application by VanClare, the defendant in patent revocation proceedings brought by British Gas Services (BGS) to be transferred to the Patents Court, together with an application by BGS for its revocation claim to be heard before Vanclere's infringement claim.

In essence, in 2014 VanClare acquired a 2002 patent relating to prepayment utilities metering. VanClare granted an exclusive licence in respect of the patent to another entity controlled by the same person as VanClare.  That licensee then wrote to BGS (part of the UK government's smart metering implementation programme, SMIP), drawing the patent to its attention and suggesting that BGS took a licence. A letter before action followed.

SMIP involved the installation of 16 million meters by 2020 at a cost of approximately £600 million. When infringement proceedings were threatened, BGS issued revocation proceedings in the IPEC, alleging that the patent was obvious in the light of common general knowledge and prior art, not to mention added matter. VanClare had not served a defence. Soon afterwards, the exclusive licensee commenced infringement proceedings in the Patents Court, serving particulars of claim and particulars of infringement. At this point, VanClare sought the transfer of the revocation action to the Patents Court. BGS objected and said that the infringement claim should be stayed pending the outcome of the claim for revocation which, it said, was simpler and could be tried ealier and more quickly.

Mr Justice Arnold ordered that the revocation claim be transferred to the Patents Court so that it could be heard along with the infringement claim in accordance with the usual practice. In his view:

* so long as it did not appear that the revocation claim could be heard any more quickly in the IPEC than in the Patents Court, BGS did not oppose its transfer, since BGS just wanted the revocation claim to be heard before the infringement claim.

* the normal practice in the Patents Court was for validity and infringement to be tried together. That avoided the risk of inconsistent decisions on the interpretation of the patent if there were two hearings, and the possibility of delay inherent in a possible appeal against the decision on revocation.

* the court could order the issues to be tried in whatever order was convenient, if there was a good reason for doing so, and the onus on a party seeking to do things in a different order was not a heavy one -- but it had to be shown that that was the better way to proceed.

* while it was said that this revocation claim was simple to try, the issues were not so straightforward that an application for summary judgment had been made or even suggested. The revocation case was not unanswerable and would need a trial for its proper resolution.

* conversely, the infringement claim was said to be complex, not properly particularised and nowhere near ready for trial. However, the infringement claim could be elaborated if necessary in the ordinary way, and any deficiencies in preparedness could be dealt with by routine case management directions.

* bearing this in mind, differences in the relative complexity and readiness of the cases on the pleadings were not sufficient to justify the suggested bifurcation of the proceedings and there was no reason why the infringement claim could not be ready for trial with the revocation claim, especially since any delay would be prejudicial to both parties and the patent only had five years to run.

There are two sorts of bifurcation of patent proceedings: those where infringement is heard first, followed by revocation, and those (as was sought in this application) that go the other way round. This decision confirms that, while neither is normal in England and Wales, either is possible if the argument in favour of it is sufficiently persuasive. One wonders whether, following this clarification, more applications to hear one issue ahead of the other might be expected.

This blogpost is prepared from a note on the subscription-only Lawtel service.

Patent Eligibility Under Mayo/Alice “Two-Step” Test: Invoking Routine and Conventional Elements Is Not Enough

In a series of cases addressing whether inventions are eligible for patent protection under 35 U.S.C. § 101, the U.S. Supreme Court has adopted a two-step analysis. Two recent decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit illustrate the potentially restrictive effect of that test in two completely different technological fields.

Ariosa Diagnostics v. Sequenom

'The first decision, Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc., No. 2014-1139 (Fed. Cir. Jun. 12, 2015) concerned the discovery of cell-free fetal DNA (“cffDNA”), minute amounts of fetal DNA that circulate in the blood of a pregnant woman. The inventors discovered cffDNA in maternal blood samples, which previously had been discarded as useless, and claimed methods to amplify the trace molecules and test them using standard genetic testing procedures.

The Federal Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling that Sequenom’s claims covering methods of performing prenatal diagnosis and detecting parental inherited DNA in samples were invalid. The court applied the two-step test crafted in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 132 S. Ct. 2347 (2014). First, the court ruled that the claims were directed to a form of naturally-occurring DNA molecule, which itself would not be patent-eligible. See Assn. for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 2107 (2013). Second, the claims lacked elements that either individually or as an ordered combination amounted to an “inventive concept” sufficient to transform the nature of the claims into something different from merely the ineligible cffDNA discovery. The court relied on repeated statements by the inventors that the cffDNA molecules should be amplified using conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques and analyzed using one of several common detection protocols. The court concluded that, “Thus, in this case, appending routine, conventional steps to a natural phenomenon, specified at a high level of generality, is not enough to supply an inventive concept. . . .  The claims of the ‘540 patent at issue in this appeal are not directed to patent eligible subject matter and are, therefore, invalid.” Slip op. at 13.

The court rejected Sequenom’s argument that the claims should be valid because the newly-discovered cffDNA has many uses beyond those claimed in the patent, and thus the patent did not “preempt” future developments in the field. The court ruled that, “While preemption may signal ineligible subject matter, the absence of complete preemption does not demonstrate patent eligibility.” Slip op. at 14.

As a result, the Sequenom patent is invalid even though the underlying discovery of cffDNA was undoubtedly a historic breakthrough in the field of prenatal medicine. The court noted that “groundbreaking, innovative, or even brilliant discovery does not by itself satisfy the § 101 inquiry.” Slip op. at 16, quoting Myriad, 133 S. Ct. at 2117. In a concurring opinion, Circuit Judge Richard Linn lamented the result, stating that the claimed diagnostic methods based on cffCNA were “truly meritorious” and should be patentable, but nonetheless are ineligible under the “sweeping” language used in the Supreme Court’s Mayo decision.

OIP Techs. v. Amazon.com

In a second decision issued on the same day, the Federal Circuit ruled that a computer-implemented process for determining optimum product prices was ineligible under § 101. OIP Technologies, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., Case No. 2012-1696 (Fed. Cir. Jun. 11, 2015). The patent at issue in OIP claimed a process for automatically determining the price of a product offered for sale (such as over the internet) by testing multiple prices, collecting data on consumer response, calculating a demand curve for the product, and choosing the optimum price. The court applied the same two-step test for patent eligibility. See Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd., v. CLS Bank Int’l, 132 S. Ct. 2347 (2014) (applying Mayo two-step test to computer-implemented processes).

First, the court concluded that the use of consumer data to set product prices by calculating a demand curve is itself an ineligible abstract idea similar to the “fundamental economic concepts” found to be ineligible in previous cases, including Alice (intermediated settlement) and Bilski v. Kappos, 561 U.S. 593 (2010)(hedging against risk of commodity price fluctuation). Applying the second step of the test, the court ruled that the OIP patent claims did not provide an “inventive concept” because they only called for the use of “well-understood, routine, conventional activities,” such as the operation of a general-purpose computer and common computer and network functions. The court noted that the OIP claims were “exceptionally broad” and the patents made clear that one could perform the automated pricing method by “any sequence of instructions designed for implementation on a computer system.” Slip op. at 7. Thus, the court held that OIP’s patent was invalid as ineligible.


Conclusion

The Ariosa and OIP cases underscore the potentially restrictive effect of the Mayo/Alice two-step on patent eligibility across a variety of technologies. The key to establishing eligibility rests in drafting claims that recite a sufficient “inventive concept,” such using a specific unconventional apparatus, employing non-routine activities, or physically transforming an object. In addition, broad statements in the patent specification or prosecution history that an invention takes advantage of prior art practices, while potentially supportive of enablement, may tend to suggest that the invention lacks a sufficient inventive concept. Furthermore, although preemption of future developments in a field is one factor to be considered, it is not part of the two-step test and thus is not enough to salvage a claim that lacks a significant inventive concept.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Training for UPC technical judges: a first for CEIPI

"The creation of the Unified Patent Court represents a turning point in the history of European intellectual property law. The judges of the Unified Patent Court will be central actors for the success of the Unified Patent Court and the entire patent package". 
Not so easy: so will
training help?
So says the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) which, in collaboration with the French IP office INPI, is lending its experience in training public servants, its long-standing academic tradition and its connection with key international intellectual property organizations at the service of a training programme which is intended to meet the needs of the new generation of technically qualified judges who will be populating Europe's new Unified Patent Court.

The 1st edition of this course will take place from September to November 2015:

  • 1st. module: 24, 25 and 26 September 2015 
  • 2nd. module: 29, 30 and 31 October 2015 
  • 3rd. module: 19, 20 and 21 November 2015

It will cost you, though. Tuition fees are €2, 900 .

You can download the programme and the registration form via the CEIPI website here. Don't leave it too long though: the deadline for enrolment is 1 August 2015.

Friday, 19 June 2015

MIP in-house survey on in-house attitudes to unified patent court and unitary patent: can you help?

This blogger's friends at Managing Intellectual Property magazine are running a survey, in which PatLit readers who work in-house are invited, indeed urged, to participate.  As MIP explains:
The past few months have seen important developments regarding the fees, procedures and rules for the new Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) system in Europe. In the light of these, we are inviting in-house counsel to complete a short survey and to win an iPad mini 3 [reviewed here on Macworld as "a great tablet but still a rubbish deal" ...].

The survey comprises six short questions and takes about three minutes to complete.

All answers will be treated as anonymous, but you can enter your name to have a chance to win an iPad mini 3.

It is the second survey on the Unitary Patent and UPC that we have run. We plan to carry out a third before the end of the year, to track how concerns and views are changing.

The first UPC survey earlier this year showed broad support for the new system, with the majority of respondents saying they are likely to use it for at least some patents, and 46% saying it will be good for innovation in Europe. But is also found that more information about the new system was needed, particularly on costs.

The new survey picks up on that, including two questions on Unitary Patent renewal fees and UPC court fees. There is also a new question asking about specific concerns to do with the UPC. We also include some of the questions in the first survey, to see how about attitudes to the new system have changed over the past few months as more information has become available.

Later this month we will also be conducting in-depth telephone interviews with in-house counsel about the Unitary Patent and UPC. If you would be prepared to take part in an interview, please tick the box in the online survey or email Kingsley Egbuonu directly [you can email him here or phone him on 020 7779 8913].
You can read all MIP's existing coverage of the unitary patent and the UPC here.