At the recent IPBC conference in San Francisco, chief patent counsel from leading tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia, Microsoft and Unwired Planet expressed great interest in the upcoming patent reforms in Europe. There was widespread consensus that the reforms mean that greater value will be attributed in future by investors and corporates to European patents (whether unitary patents or bundle patents). Patent brokers and other players on the secondary market for patents (such as Non-Producing Entities) have similar views, describing this as a major change from the current situation in which the value of a patent portfolio is largely driven by, and attributed to, the US patents in the portfolio.
Predictions offered by conference participants included:
- tech sector companies who do not seek unitary effect will validate their traditional European patents in more UPC contracting states than currently; and
- patent disputes between multinationals are more likely in future to involve legal proceedings in the UPC, in addition to the US Courts. This will result in an increase in the volume of patent litigation outside the US.