Society urges Peers to protect access to justice for Scottish inventors
The Law Society of Scotland has today urged Peers to amend UK legislation to ensure Scottish inventors and entrepreneurs can continue to enforce or defend their intellectual property rights in a Scottish court.
The Intellectual Property Bill, once enacted, will pave the way for establishing a new patent court system in the UK. Currently, inventors and businesses in Scotland can litigate their patent rights in the Court of Session. The Society wants this right to remain.
The Bill provides for (up to four) possible local divisions of the new Unitary Patent Court, but does not place any obligation on the Secretary of State to grant jurisdiction on any particular court. The Society has therefore recommended that the legislation is amended to ensure that the three separate legal jurisdictions in the UK, England & Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, are each granted a patent court under the new system.
Gill Grassie, member of the Law Society of Scotland's Intellectual Property Committee, said:
"The Society believes that, given the constitutional make-up of the United Kingdom, it is important that each separate legal jurisdiction is fairly represented within the overall Unitary Patent Court structure.
"The Court of Session currently has jurisdiction in Scotland over cases under existing patents. If it were not to have this for the new unitary patent, then litigants in Scotland would no longer have an effective local option available to protect their patent rights - they would instead have to litigate or defend their position elsewhere in the UK or Europe. This could significantly increase costs for those litigants. Designating the Court of Session as one of the UK local divisions of the Unitary Patent Court would ensure that patent litigants who operate in Scotland are not unduly disadvantaged."
Notes to editors
The Intellectual Property Bill, once enacted, will pave the way for establishing a Unitary Patent Court system in the UK.
The Intellectual Property Bill, as currently drafted, does not place any obligation on the Secretary of State to consider or confer divisional local jurisdiction on the High Court in England and Wales, the Court of Session Scotland or the High Court in Northern Ireland.
The Society has submitted an amendment to Peers, which would ensure that Scotland, England and Wales, and Northern Ireland are each granted local divisional court jurisdiction under the new Unitary Patent Court system.
The Law Society of Scotland's amendment to Peers can be viewed here
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03 June 2013