July 2, 2012
The European Union (EU) has long discussed the creation of a single "unitary patent" that would issue from a patent application filed in the European Patent Office. The unitary patent approach would depart markedly from the current approach in the European Patent Office. Under existing proposals, patent applicants would be able to opt either for a unitary patent, which would provide unitary territorial protection in all participating European countries, or for a European patent under the present approach, which would provide individual territorial protection in the countries designated by the applicant.
On June 29, 2012, the member states of the European Union reached an agreement that represents an important step toward implementation of the unitary patent system. As indicated in a press release issued by the European Patent Office, the EU member states have agreed that Paris would be the central division of a future European patent court, with clusters in Munich and London. Once established, this European patent court will have exclusive jurisdiction in infringement and revocation proceedings involving European and unitary patents. The court will be established on the basis of an international treaty yet to be negotiated.
This development is of interest to those Fitch Even clients who prosecute patent applications in Europe. We are monitoring the developments in the European Union and will report on further developments. For more information, please contact Fitch Even partner Kendrew H. Colton.