The way is paved for a unitary EU Patent System

The way is paved for a unitary EU Patent System

In December of last year, the European Parliament approved, by a large majority, the final proposals on the legislative package setting up a new single EU Patent system, and only one day after EU Competitiveness Council’s endorsement. The first EU wide patents should be granted by April 2014, after all national ratification processes are completed with implementing the new rules on January 1, 2014

The legislation consists of a regulation creating an EU patent with unitary effect (the EU Patent), further a regulation establishing a language regime applicable to the EU Patent, and an international agreement among Member States setting up a single and specialised EU Patent jurisdiction (Unified Patent Court). The Court will reduce also litigation costs and eliminate legal uncertainty by the former need to defend patents in several Member State courts and the inherent risk of different outcomes in different Member State jurisdiction. The Unified Patent Court will have central – located in Paris (F) – and local/regional divisions as well as a Unified Patent Court of Appeal. The specialised chambers for pharmaceuticals and life sciences will be3 located in London (GB). The one specialised in mechanical engineering is located in Munich (D), and the appeal tribunal will be located in Luxemburg.

The new EU Patent System will have its effect worldwide as it provides automatic unitary patent protection in all 25 participating Member States (Spain and Italy will probably join at a later stage). It is intended to lead to less costs and more effective protection of inventions.

The EU Commission estimates expect that when the EU Patent system will be fully operational, EU patent protection will amount to around EUR 5000, compared to the current EUR 36000 for coverage in all 27 Member States, in comparison, patent protection in the U.S. is about EUR 2000 and in China about EUR 600.

Applications for EU patent protections have to be submitted to the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich, Bavaria (D). The new system will be made available in three official working languages of the EU (E,F,G), although it is possible to make an application in any EU language. In addition there is a higher quality machine translation system freely available in 28 European languages, plus non-European languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.

For more details, please click on the first link for Regulation, and on the second link for Council Regulation.

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