Lawyers back London as seat of European patents court

UK lawyers are backing London as the home of the new European patents court, saying that the capital is a perfect fit.

The UK is going head-to-head with Germany, which has proposed that Munich, where the EU’s patent office is already located, should be the home of the new court.

Backing the argument for a UK base, Taylor Wessing patent partner Simon Cohen said that as English is the predominant language of science and scientists, a London-base would attract users of the European system from all over the world.

“The UK also has strong patent attorney, solicitor and barrister professions with specialist patent courts and patent judges,” Cohen said.

“For these reasons, I would expect that basing the court in London would get firm support from the Americans among others, who are heavy users of the European patent litigation system.”

Allen & Overy IP litigation partner Huw Evans argued that the EU patent court would find a natural home in a country that already has a world-class court system.

“In the UK there’s already much experience and know-how, not just in the area of patent law but also in the management of world-class court systems,” he said.

“London’s already an internationally renowned centre for international dispute resolution. The EU patent court would work here. “

Marks & Clerk Solicitors IP partner William Cook said that as the European Patent Office is already located in Munich, many are rooting for London.

However, he warned that the this should not overshadow the wider issues surrounding the new patent court, namely that infringement cases may be started in any designated court around Europe, and that it still seems that the European Court of Justice will be the final court to arbitrate questions of infringement law.

A decision is expected as the end of the year.

For more, see Opinion.