The international agreement for establishing a Unified Patent Court (UPC), which was signed last week in Brussels, is expected to ensure the uniform applicability of patent law throughout the EU’s signatory countries.
According to a press note issued on behalf of the EU Council, the new court will avoid the occurrence of multiple court cases with regard to the same patent in different member states.
‘This will also prevent contradictory court rulings on the same issues,’ it said. ‘It will also reduce costs of patent litigation.
‘The UPC will be a court common to the contracting member states and thus subject to the same obligations under Union law as any national court.
‘It is an international agreement concluded outside the EU institutional framework…’
All EU member states signed up to the agreement, with the exception of Bulgaria, Poland and Spain. Bulgaria was preparing to sign once internal procedures had been completed, while Poland and Spain could sign at a future date.
Following the signing of the agreement, the ratification process by national parliaments can start. At least 13 member states will have to ratify the agreement for it to enter into force.
‘All the necessary decisions (designation of committees, budget, appointment of judges and president, recruitment of staff, facilities, etc.) should be adopted in a timely manner so as to enable the first registration of a European patent title with unitary effect in spring 2014,’ the press note said.
‘The Central Division of the Court of First Instance will be located in Paris (France) with specialised sections in London (United Kingdom) and Munich (Germany).
‘The UPC is the third element of the “patent package”. The two regulations establishing enhanced co-operation for unitary patent protection and its translation arrangements were adopted on 17 December 2012…
‘The establishment of a unitary patent system valid across the EU will contribute to an
increase in patent activity, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises. It will also contribute significantly to lowering the costs associated with obtaining a patent in the EU.’