Bloomberg Quotes Dan Altman and Jessica Achtsam on Key Things to Know About the EU Unified Patent Court
Knobbe Martens partners Dan Altman and Jessica Achtsam were quoted by Bloomberg in the article “What US Lawyers Should Know as the EU Unified Patent Court Looms.” The article discusses the June 2023 opening of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), a “system designed to streamline intellectual property litigation across participating European Union member states,” and what participation could mean for patent owners.
Altman commented, “[c]ompanies might find a unitary patent more cost-effective if they plan to enforce it in four or more of the 17 countries currently participating in the UPC system.” As participation in the system will be voluntary, Altman said that waiting and staying out of the UPC would be a fine approach, as long as those who chose to wait did not get stuck in a venue they had hoped to avoid. He adds, “If an accused infringer brings an invalidity action in a court of one of the individual countries, the possibility to opt back in will be precluded.”
Achtsam stated that UPC actions, aimed at efficiency, should help to expedite proceedings. She commented, “[t]he UPC cases are intended to move at a rapid pace with an expectation of one year from filing to oral hearing,” adding, “[c]ompanies should be prepared to have their cases be test case.”
Altman also commented on how the amount of damages the UPC is willing to award could influence how many patent holders file suit. “While the UPC will certainly offer the possibility of damage awards covering a larger geographical area,” he noted, “it is not yet known whether the UPC will continue the traditional reluctance of many of the European courts to award high damages to patentees. If a general trend toward higher damage awards occurs at the UPC, it would seem inevitable that non-practicing entities would take notice and increase their activities in Europe.”