Scotland business

Patent cases 'can be heard in Scotland'

Alison Grieve with her Safetray invention
Image caption Alison Grieve's Safetray invention is protected by patents

The UK government has announced that Scotland's Court of Session will now be able to hear new patent cases.

Legal experts had warned that inventors and designers based in Scotland could lose out as a result of planned changes to the law.

In future a unified patent court will hear patent cases.

There will be up to four divisional courts in the UK - but there were originally no plans to have one in Scotland.

The Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates had urged UK ministers to step in and change the law.

That has now happened, with Scotland's Court of Session being appointed as a venue for these claims, provided there is enough demand.

'Welcome step'

Gill Grassie, a 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."

The SNP's Pete Wishart, who had campaigned for the change, said it means inventors in Scotland will no longer have to go to a more distant court in London or Europe to enforce their rights.

He said: "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 today 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 case in Scotland.

"It would have been patently absurd for Scotland to be denied a divisional patent court with our tradition of invention and creativity and this is great news for all businesses associated with developing our creative economy in Scotland."

Last year, countries across Europe backed the changes to patent laws designed to help inventors protect their ideas right across the continent.

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