European Unified Patents Update

We posted an update on this back in November 2021, but all 13 countries have now ratified the Protocol on Provisional Application of the Unified Patent Court Agreement. The European Union is now in the process of putting the court together and it may be ready within the year.

The proposals include both a Unitary Patent covering participating member states, as well as a Unified Patent Court with jurisdiction over the litigation aspects. There is also a provision to opt out of this. In practice, there may be a cost savings only in the event the patent would be sought in four or more countries. So if, for example, you were only seeking patent protection in one country, it would be cheaper to prosecute in that country alone, rather than the unified patent.

But this could be a great option for those seeking protection across Europe when the details are all worked out.

It should also be noted that Unified Patent challenges will eventually be heard only in the Unified Patent Court, but there will be a temporary hybrid situation allowing litigation through national courts.

More information is available through the European Patent Offices page.

Venner-Shipley, one of our UK associates has provided an in-depth analysis found here.