This Kat is grumpy about pretty much everything at the moment. He is weary of explaining to clients and patent attorneys outside Europe that, contrary to what they may have read in announcements from official sources that no, the Unitary patent will probably not be cheaper than their European patents as currently validated; it certainly won’t be quicker; and the 2014 start date is a figment of some official’s imagination. (UPDATE 1 Feb 2014 - this Kat posted about a similar outbreak of grumpiness when Austria ratified the UPC agreement last year.) He has been pondering the reputational damage and waste of time and energy involved when official announcements fail to actually reflect the reality of what has been achieved, with the result that it falls to professional advisors to disabuse expectant applicants and explain to them the real position.
This sin of over-hyping has been a constant bugbear of the PPH system (and was being complained about by sabbatical Kat here). It has always been the case with PPH that, in return for actually rather onerous and significantly expensive administrative requirements (submitting copies of office actions and translations together with claim correspondence tables), the only thing that is offered is accelerated processing. Not preferential treatment on substantive matters. Not a presumption of allowability, let alone “rubber stamping” of a decision of another patent office.
|Even with the global system,|
it's still a complex network!
So now let’s turn to the UK IPO announcement.
“This will significantly simplify the process for businesses, and help to cut the time and cost of seeking patent protection in key global markets.” Er, no it won’t. The process involved is exactly the same as before. The time taken to grant may be quicker as compared with the non-PPH system, but the time spent dealing with each patent office will likely be the same, and may actually be more (because of the requirement to file copies of office actions, translations, and correspondence tables), and so be more expensive.
“It will also help cut the global problem of patent backlogs.” Er, really? Each office still has the same size backlog, it is just that the order of cases in the queue is shuffled.
“The new Global Patent Prosecution Highway pilot is a real step forward. It is a significant achievement that brings together, and more closely aligns, the work of the key global patent offices. The real benefit is to businesses and other applicants, who will see patents handled more quickly and efficiently across global markets. This will reduce complexity and time and cut costs.” The only word in this that seems true is “quickly”.
“Although the use of bilateral PPH arrangements is increasing (the UK recently signed an agreement with China during the Prime Minister’s visit in December) the UK has been working to establish a PPH framework that covers multiple countries to better allow businesses to protect their intellectual property in overseas markets.” This Kat entirely fails to see how the PPH acts to “allow businesses to protect their intellectual property in overseas markets.”
Confidently, but miserably, expecting his mewing to fall on deaf ears, this Kat wants to issue a plea – please can official announcements about legislative developments be congruent with what has actually occurred?