Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Podcast: Letter from Europe — the bifurcation blues: IP, RWJs and the UPC

By Paul A Harris

In the last Letter from Europe, I looked at the potential financial impact a single judge could have on the economy. As I alluded to in my conclusion, the Unified Patents Court (UPC), a proposed common patent court open for use by all EU member states, could have a much bigger impact than anyone might realise, and not necessarily in a positive sense.

This somewhat gloomy prognosis arose out of a conversation with my friend and fellow partner, James Tumbridge. James, or Jimmy T as I sometimes call him, has been involved in politics since youth. He even once ran as a candidate, but now scratches his political itch by occasionally advising politicians on matters in ntellectual property (IP). Had James and other IP practitioners and organisations not raised awareness at a political level of the importance of the UPC, we wouldn’t have seen any key part of it in the UK; it would all have gone to Germany.

This ‘new era’ for patent litigation has all been negotiated by politicians who, quite frankly, are barely looking at what the UPC is all about. Part of the reason is that IP is an ‘intangible’, and they don’t really get it. What politicians are interested in, according to James, other than getting elected again, are ‘real-world jobs’, hence, RWJs. Since the recent economic crisis, there has been a slow awakening to the fact that financial intangibles — such as loan notes, sub-prime mortgages and other such transactional instruments — can have a significant impact on traditional jobs, such as labourers. The politicians get that construction work means jobs, but if you want to build a bridge the financial investment required manifests itself in the form of intangible instruments…

Click on the links below to listen to the Pillsbury podcast or download the transcript.

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