Recent global developments have signalled shifting international alignment on trade.
Let's take a closer look at these developments and what's driving them, and consider why they will inevitably impact on patent enforcement in the UK and Trans-Pacific countries.
Joe Biden's ascension to the United States presidency in January 2021 is expected to usher in a return to the internationalist approach to trade that characterised the Obama administration under which Biden served as Vice President.
This carries an expectation that the US will pick up where it left off under President Obama by seeking to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The CPTPP is a free trade agreement between Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
With the US and UK on board, the CPTPP would be the largest free trade bloc by GDP in the world.
On 11 September 2020, the UK signed its first major free trade deal as an independent country outside the EU, with Japan. This deal is expected to be followed by similar bilateral deals with Canada, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand and is viewed by the UK government as the first step in joining the CPTPP.
There are several major factors at play here.
For one thing, the accession of the UK would complete a CANZUK core to the CPTPP, re-establishing historic trade and political ties of these common law countries. Should the US become part of the CPTPP, the partnership would also contain the Five-Eyes security network, which Japan is also tipped to join soon.
But the key factor is geopolitical: the alliance of the countries at the core of the CPTPP is an alternative trade block, intended to provide balance with – and a check upon – China (which has signed its own deal in the Pacific region) as it emerges as a leading world power.
Where there is trade between countries there is also the need for rigorous intellectual property protection. Where that trade involves economies with a large innovation sector (pharma, biotech, telecoms etc) there is an emphasis on patent protection: companies need to know that their technology is protected, the scope of that protection and how it can be enforced.
If you're an in-house lawyer or otherwise responsible for looking after your business's IP, you'll need to gain a quick, practical understanding of approach to patents taken in the CPTPP.
That's where Patent Enforcement in the UK and Trans-Pacific Countries can help.
Featuring contributions by a team of international experts (including Amanda Ebbutt and Tom Foster) and edited by Paul England, Patent Enforcement in the UK and Trans-Pacific Countries will provide you with a structured account of the relevant enforcement procedures and substantive patent law in eight of the countries in (or expected to join) the CPTPP:
This will enable you to quickly compare and contrast different countries and identify relevant issues.
Patent Enforcement in the UK and Trans-Pacific Countries is published by Globe Law and Business and slated for an October 2021 release.