A Scottish National Party MP today hailed a ‘fantastic victory’ for the nation’s legal establishment, after the Westminster coalition conceded on the contentious issue of patent court rights.
During a Commons debate yesterday, minister for universities and science David Willetts confirmed that the Court of Session in Edinburgh will continue to hear patent cases, as a divisional court under the new Europe-wide Unitary Patent Court system.
Scotland’s intellectual property lawyers had been bracing themselves for the prospect of having to litigate through courts in England. Willetts announced the concession during yesterday’s third reading of the Intellectual Property Bill.
Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, commented: ‘This is a fantastic victory for the legal establishment in Scotland.
‘I raised these concerns through all stages of the Intellectual Property Bill and am very pleased that in response to my amendments, the UK government have said that we can secure a divisional court if we can demonstrate demand.
‘Not only is there demand in Scotland, but there is also centuries of experience, skills and expertise in dealing with patent cases. I know that IP-rich businesses, creators and inventors will very much welcome this news.
‘It would have been patently absurd for Scotland to be denied a divisional patent court with our tradition of invention and creativity.’
Gill Grassie, member of the Law Society of Scotland’s Intellectual Property Law Committee, said: ‘We are delighted that the UK government has listened to our concerns. This is an important and very welcome step towards the goal that we have been aiming to achieve for the benefit of Scotland’s IP-rich business community.
‘If we can secure the ultimate realisation of this goal sooner rather than later, this will give businesses in Scotland, which rely upon patents to protect valuable technologies and innovation, assurance that they will be able to enforce and defend their rights in future in a local court.
‘Thus they will be enabled to secure the benefits this will give in terms of costs savings, convenience and certainty.’
MPs approved the third reading of the IP bill without division. It has now cleared the Commons and returns for consideration to the Lords.