On 10/11 December 2012, the European Parliament gave its approval to the ‘EU patent package’ comprising unitary patent, language regime and unified patent court. After 30 years of negotiations, the respective decisions were finally adopted by large majorities. This means that it will be possible in the foreseeable future to obtain unitary patents that are valid throughout the EU, rather than the current EP patent, which provides cover for intellectual property in a bundle of separate countries. The ‘unitary patent’ will be supported by a separate, unified patent litigation system for enforcing patents, namely with regional courts (at least three of which are located in Germany) and one central division (with its seat in Paris and two sections in London and Munich).
Some aspects are still unclear, for example the date of entry into force, the extent to which cost reductions will actually be possible, and ultimately also the issue of how effectively IP rights can be asserted before the new courts. We will be monitoring the implementation of the new ‘system’ for our clients and will advise you accordingly – on a case-by-case basis. Read more.