les Nouvelles - September 2014

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The Unitary Patent And The Unified Patent Court

Christoph Cordes

Esche Schümann Commichau

In the European Union a major change in the existing patent system is underway. By the end of 2012 and in spring 2013, the so called Unitary Patent was created and 25 of the 28 Member States of the European Union have signed the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). This Agreement now needs to be ratified by at least 13 Member States. The European Commission hopes that the required number of ratifications will be reached in spring of 2015 and that the new patent system will then come into force.

The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will cause significant changes in the European patent landscape: For the first time, a uniform patent protection throughout the European Union is envisaged. The application and procurement procedure will be simplified. The enforcement will be concentrated on a few European courts.

With the coming into force of the so-called Patent Package, the new Unified Patent Court will start working. The court will not only have jurisdiction over disputes arising out of Unitary Patents, but also arising out of already existing European patents. Therefore, already today applicants and owners of European patents have to consider whether to stay in the Unified Patent Court system with their European patents or to opt out.

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