Mediation Rules released

The Preparatory Committee of the UPC has released Mediation Rules Mediation is available for any patent which is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the UPC (ie unitary patents and non-opted out European patents). Rule 2.4 says that "The mediation service can be required if a written agreement of the parties allows, on request of one party to the Centre with the expressed consent of the other party, following a recommendation by the UPC to settle the dispute with the Centre which all parties have accepted".

House of Lords considers secondary legislation to implement UPCA

The House of Lords has been discussing the secondary legislation implementing the UPCA in the UK and the new exceptions to infringement of unitary patents (Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee). The Committee was in favour of introducing the plant breeders exception (the ability of plant breeders to use patented biological material to create a new plant variety without infringing a patent for that material) but had concerns about the "software exception" (proposed in relation to the use of a lawfully acquired computer program for certain purposes without the permission of the patent owner, and without that use being an infringement of any patent covering that program).  The House of Lords also had concerns about contributory infringement.  The Scrutiny Committee put these concerns to BIS, and received a letter of 27 January 2016 from Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in that Department, see Appendix 1 in the report linked above, in which she confirms the position on contributory infringement.  The Baroness stated that "[o]n balance I considered that it would be best to adopt a two stage approach providing the “safe haven” advocated by stakeholders at first with a commitment to review the implementation within 5 years of entry into force. This approach ensures compliance with the UPC Agreement while also addressing the real concerns of industry regarding the uncertain scope of the exception. Further discussion of this issue is covered in paragraphs 49 to 55 of the Government Response and in the Impact Assessment (BISIPO003)".

Germany issues draft implementing legislation for UPCA

The German Federal Minister of Justice published draft legislation on 16 February 2016 to implement the unitary patent in Germany and allow Germany to ratify the UPCA. Following consultation, draft bills are expected to be put before the German parliament by summer 2016.