Unified Patent Court Approved in Europe

December 13th, 2012

by Daniel Sineway

The European Parliament has approved a Unified Patent Court (UPC) that should offer greater consistency and treatment of patents across the EU member countries. Under the current system, after a European patent application is approved, the patent must be “registered” in each country in which patent rights are desired. And, if a lawsuit arises, each individual country typically has jurisdiction to proceed over the merits of any patent infringement suit brought there.

Under the new regime, patents will no longer be required to be ratified in each country of interest, and one set of tribunals will decide matters of infringement relating to such Unified Patents. Further (and perhaps most advantageously for those seeking patents in Europe), a patent applicant will likely no longer be required to pay additional filing fees and translation costs in each EU country in which protection is desired.

Traditionally, the treatment of software and computer-implemented patents in particular in Europe has been disjointed, can vary depending upon the country, and is generally negative. However, moving to a more unified standard may force the UPC to adopt a more consolidated (and potentially patent-friendly) approach.

The current forecast is that the system will be finalized and the first Unified Patent will be issued in 2014.

Companies with significant business in Europe should potentially reevaluate their overseas patent strategies given the pending change.

More information about the approval of the UPC can be found here.





This information is presented for educational purposes and is not intended to constitute legal advice;see disclaimer. Contact Daniel Sineway for more information at dsineway@mmmlaw.com