The Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent System, which launched on June 1, will benefit patent holders and add to Europe’s attractiveness as a litigation venue. It will also have a broader impact on the global patent landscape.
Over the past decades, U.S. patent enforcement has been handicapped by inter partes review of issued patents, the weakening of injunctive remedies by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange LLC and other actions taken across the U.S. government. Amplifying the shortcomings of litigation in the United States, the new UPC regime will put further pressure on American legislators.
The difference between the United States and Europe in the treatment of patents is increasingly clear against a backdrop of continuing growth of industries depending on patents and their efficient enforcement. As readers are well aware, and as confirmed in a recent study of the U.S. National Science Foundation in 2020, knowledge and technology-intensive industries contributed some 11% of the global gross domestic product.
The importance to national GDP, employment and trade flows has been demonstrated in the United States, as assessed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in March 2022, and in the European Union, as highlighted in the joint report published in October 2022 by the European Patent Office and the EU Intellectual Property Office.
Further studies, for example issued by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in 2019, indicate that stronger intellectual property rights correlate to increased trade, with countries having similar levels of IP rights protection.
As these findings indicate, a robust framework for the protection, including enforcement, of IP rights is paramount.
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