After a decade of deliberation, Europe looks like it will finally have a unitary patent system that will reduce the costs of a patent. But the plan has caused concerns about the sudden speed toward approval and the way in which the patents will be enforced.
On Dec. 11, the European Parliament voted to agree on the Unitary Patent Regulation, which will create a system where a patent with unitary effect will cover 25 of the 27 European Union (EU) Member States (Spain and Italy have initiated a court challenge that is not expected to succeed). The new system will cut the costs of obtaining patent protection across the EU by reducing the requirement for translation of the patent text into the languages of each member state.
But the last few months have seen member states quarrelling over language in the regulation, the locations of new EU patent courts, and the constitutionality of the change.
A session on the new system was part of the BIO IP Committee Conference that I covered in November. Attorney Hugh Goodfellow of Carpmaels & Ransford, London, outlined the concerns about the new system to the conference but quoted a member of the EU parliament who said the unitary patent system was a “political train which is not going to stop.”
Critics say the new court system will promote forum shopping for patentees and patent trolls. The good news for U.S. companies is that defendants who are domiciled outside of the EU will be tried in the court’s central division, which will have its seat in Paris with sections in London and Munich, while EU-based companies will be subject to the jurisdiction of the local and regional court divisions.
Assuming the regulations are formally adopted at the end of 2012, the treaty establishing the new unitary patent court is scheduled to be signed Feb. 18, 2013, and the first unitary patent would be issued by April 2014. There are things that need to be worked out on the way, and they will bear watching.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)