|The AmeriKat's friend, Melodie Ward, |
trying out one of
Aviation House's possible
UPC court rooms
This afternoon the IPKat forwarded to the AmeriKat this thought piece from his friends at Carpmaels & Ransford which expressed their view that a central location for the UPC is preferable. They state that:
"In our view, the most fitting site for the London Division of the UPC is a central one. This is where London’s leading legal and IP firms are based, and a central location for the Court will support these firms in attracting work from the global companies that are going to be users of the system. The further away from the centre of London the Court is located, the more this local advantage becomes eroded. This is also where the various expert IP Chambers of UK advocates are located, and these advocates will be the individuals appearing daily before the Court. The logistics of transporting legal bundles to and from the Court will be significant if that Court is remote from their Chambers; that is one reason for their current historic location near the English Courts."So another vote for central London. The AmeriKat understands the reasons why central London is a preferable location (she said so herself yesterday), but the real task is in identifying an actual property or properties in Central London given the various constraints. Some of these constraints IPKat readers will be aware of and some, they may not.
As to the latter, this morning the AmeriKat spoke with Janis Makarewich-Hall who heads up the UPC Taskforce at the UK IPO. Janis updated the AmeriKat with the following information which will help readers understand the balancing exercise that has to be taken when determining the most appropriate location for the court:
- To start with, the information contained via EPLAW is a bit out of date in that the UK Government is also looking at the possibility of commercial properties (Building 1000 and Aviation House are Government properties).
- As the AmeriKat mentioned yesterday, Aviation House has its difficulties. It requires remodeling and the small, inflexible space does not lend itself naturally to court rooms. However, it is located centrally.
- The commercial option, although not impossible, comes with its own challenges. The UK Government is currently rationalizing their estate and any property requirement must first be robustly considered then ruled out as potential options. Government-owned buildings are generally large and don't require much renovation for a general office move. It becomes more complicated when looking to create purpose-built court rooms. However, they are considered as the first option when looking for a location. Once this is done and a commercial property is then identified, then the government office has to negotiate a 25% reduction in the rent ["No small feat in Central London!" exclaims Merpel]. Once that has been done, the relevant office has to then obtain Cabinet Office approval.
- Once Cabinet Office approval is obtained, a lease can be entered into for the commercial property, but the lease cannot be longer than 5 years as a new government property strategy is expected to begin in 2020. With the timing of the UPC, this could mean that the premises are only used for 4 years on the assumption that the UPC kicks off in 2016.
- Building 1000 does not have those constraints and the UK IPO is hopeful that a favorable lease could be agreed on a 10-year basis because it is a Government-held property.
- The other option is that in the initial years there are small court rooms located throughout London. This is not an ideal solution for accessibility and operational reasons, but it would provide information about case-load and court requirements without dedicating to a large court location prior to a change of the UK's government.
- The UK IPO is currently in the process of gathering information regarding commercial properties and will present options for approval to Ministers and the Cabinet Office.
- The UK IPO is committed to selecting the best option, but with the above constraints the best option is not always the possible option.