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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Building 1000 or Aviation House? Have your say on London's UPC location

Entrance of Aviation House in London - snow not
guaranteed 
So far during her English legal career, the AmeriKat has worked in Soho, Gray's Inn and Liverpool Street.  Of the three locations, from a purely business perspective, the Gray's Inn location was far superior.  The AmeriKat need only jog down the hill to the Royal Courts of Justice and she could be before a Master within 10 minutes (not including getting lost in the Bear Garden).  A barrister isn't replying to your emails?  You can be glowering at him or her in person in just five minutes. Need to update a judge's trial bundle urgently before a hearing?  Fear not.  

It is therefore no surprise that the location of the Unified Patent Court preoccupies many.  First, the debate was whether the UK would get the Central Division (see previous AmeriKat post here).  Now, the Intellectual Property Office's UPC Taskforce is turning to where the UK's seat of the Central Division and local division hosted in London will be.  The current property options are as follows (see fuller summary document found at this link):
Building 1000.  This location is opposite City Airport.  This means that it would be accessible for international litigants (as long as they are fortunate to come from a country/city that flies into City).  It is apparently accessible from Central London in less than 30 minutes (depending on traffic and contingent on you and your clients coming from Central London and not from Heathrow).   There is a lot of space available -- some 6 floors with 2,500 sqm per floor.   And you can watch airplanes take off and land, which is useful for demonstrations of any aviation patents that may be litigated.
Building 1000
A view from Building 1000.  Hours of
cross-examination in a sunbeam-filled
room with water glistening gently
below is surely a recipe for naps....
Aviation House.  Located in central London (although the name is really more apropos for Building 1000's location), this is apparently a less flexible space and is considered to be the less user-friendly option as no large courtroom is possible and there is limited meeting room availability.  However, the interior is modern and is right next to Holborn Tube Station.  This means that it is in the legal district so for those English judges who are sitting in the UPC, they can sit in the Patents Court in the morning and saunter over to Aviation House for their afternoon UPC interim hearing.  Being on the Piccadilly line means that those litigants arriving from Heathrow have a simple journey in.  Sainsburys is on the ground floor so you can also get your weekly shopping out of the way. 
Floor plan depicting numerous pillars which
makes Aviation House a less flexible space
Aviation House

Tough call.  The AmeriKat understands from an anonymous source that the EPLAW Board was recently contacted by the UPC Taskforce of the UK IPO with the aim to to test with stakeholders their thoughts on these possible locations.  To assist the UK IPO and governments of other Signatory States who are also looking for locations for their UPC divisions, the EPLAW board decided to launch a consultation among EPLAW members via a survey (see this link to the document) the results of which would then be shared with the UK Government.  The UKIPO has also requested that opinions be emailed to jonathan.england@ipo.gov.uk with short comments on reasons for preferring one property over the other.

London's UPC division coming to a location near you?
Merpel, who supports EPLAW and its work, wonders why this consultation was not opened up to more than just EPLAW members (or was it)?  The facilities and accessibility of any proposed location of a division is important for litigants and the success of the court in general.  Of course lawyers have valuable opinions on court facilities as we spend a lot of time there, but Merpel considers that the preference of lawyers should come as a tertiary consideration after litigants (who will be footing the bill) and those who will be spending their days in the building (judges and court staff).  Accordingly, the IPKat and AmeriKat encourage everyone to provide their feedback on the two proposed UK locations and the criteria which must be considered by other signatories when deciding upon their divisions' locations.

If no one can reach an agreement on the location, the AmeriKat suggests that the UK Government just buys a few luxury touring bus and with the judges literally at the wheel, the UPC can come to you.  Roadtrip!

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seems pretty clear from the questions what answer they want.

Anonymous said...

Crossrail should make it much easier to get to the Building 1000 option in the Docklands. Around 15 minutes from Farringdon and just over 50 minutes from Heathrow according to the journey time calculator on the Crossrail website.

Anonymous said...

Agree the questions are extremely biased.

Isn't Holborn the better choice? It's more or less equidistant from all the London Airports and in easy reach of both national and international rail terminals.

Anonymous said...

The NEF made a case for closing London City airport less than a year ago: http://www.neweconomics.org/press/entry/close-london-city-airport

I've never actually managed to fly to/from City. I've tried a couple of times, but the weather has intervened (short runway next to the docks means fog is a real problem).

Plus for those of us who don't operate in London, and need to travel in from the North (e.g. via Kings X, St Pancras, Euston), then London City is quite difficult to get to.

patently said...

Didn't we try locating an IP Court outside the Holborn/Chancery Lane area once? Somewhere near Regents Park iirc...?

How well did that go? Is the Court still there? ;-)

Barbara Cookson said...

Oh @patently Don't you remember Wood Green - too young.
Surely we need to know the length of the lease and be certain its IT capabilities can cope. Otherwise starting small and with a front office you can talk too would be brilliant and for that Sainsbury's if a little less illustrious would do. Remember that with proper use of gadgets we dont need trolley loads of bundles- 3 tablets should cover even the most complex of cases

Jeremy said...

I remember Wood Green: it was lovely, a real litigation adventure playground. I even litigated there against my one-time employers and publishers of Trademark World. I won :-)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to disagree with all of those "I work in Holborn therefore it is essential to be withing walking district of my favourite Starbucks" legal types, but the travelling arrangements for you and your ilk should be a complete irrelevance. City airport is a great location for everyone. It is a fantastic airport for European destinations, apart from Munich, but then that is because Munich is a problematic destination for UK travellers and not a fault of City. For non-City airport destinations, fly to Stansted and get a taxi. You can also stay in many high quality non-central London hotels (or Premier Inn) all within a 30 min drive.

A better option would be to base the court near to Stansted airport (Ryan air, at least, consider this to be London).

Anonymous said...

Building 1000 is rather reliant on Crossrail (not everyone is going to come into City Airport especially litigants from outside Europe) - which according to its timetable won't be running until late 2018/early 2019, after the Court has started (we hope). The Holborn option however is only short term - it isn't very big at all. Perhaps though that's no bad thing in the early days - it must be better for the judges to be close to the Court if they may be doing both local and UPC work (as I understand it this is for both the UK local and London central divisions).

Anonymous said...

Location is clearly more important, how else can we all bill the extra hour we leave to get there early, and the hour it takes to get back alongside all the Canary Wharf rush hour traffic? Two hours extra billing a day across Partner, Associate(s) and Counsel(s) will add up. Point that out to clients and they may prefer a central location.

Anonymous said...

Is Bldg 1000 accessible via the DLR?

Anonymous said...

I travelled via City Airport to European destination weekly for 18 months without a single fog problem.

Anonymous said...

Those clients who don't want to pay for central London lawyers to travel should consider using firm based at Canary Wharf.

Here's a thought: Why doesn't the UK stop being so London-centric?

Andy J said...

to Anon @06.01.
Yes Building 1000 right next to Royal Albert DLR station which is on the Becton spur of the DLR. Thus it is easily accessible from Stratford Eurostar, the City (Bank DLR) and of course Canary Wharf.

Anonymous said...

Rouse are near Canary wharf?

Anonymous said...

Barbara, the pharma cases normally cover just the 2 tablets: originator and generic.


Charlie Hebdo

Anonymous said...

The Court should make use of Ally Pally.


There are many critics on this blog of those of us who comment anonymously.

I propose that the 'anonymous said' option is changed to "Charlie Hebdo" from this day forwards.

Charlie Hebdo

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