Unitary European Patent: “state of the art”


European patent, which is expected to greatly reduce the costs of deposit. “We have reached a final agreement on the Unitary European patent" this was the announcement on Twitter, more than one year ago, by  the president of the EU, Herman Van Rompuy, but despite that, till now the final step is not made yet.

About this topic, the following notes are an overview of the main points of the proposed new patent procedure and court system as presented from the currently circulated draft proposals in public. However, final legislative approval has not been defined so there may still be changes. There are also some areas of  controversy which have yet to be resolved and many uncertainties exist about the final scope of the Unified Patent Court System Agreement.

The Unitary European Patent is a concept which has been under discussion for many years, but had always been seen as distant prospect because of perceived difficulties over the filing of translations of the granted patent specification. The current proposals appear to have largely resolved most of the problems for the member states and the final shape of the Unitary European Patent is now fairly clear. It should be noted that the Unitary European Patent would therefore sit alongside the current national patents granted by the national Patent Offices of the EU member states and the Standard European Patents granted by the European Patent Office which are subjected to a national validation procedure to take effect in those states where the process is completed on grant. The aim of the Unitary European Patent is that the national validation procedure for current Standard European Patents would no longer be necessary, the Unitary European Patents will be granted by European Patent Office (EPO) from European patent application. The Applications to be examined by EPO in English, French or German as at present for standard European patent applications. On grant Unitary patents examined in French/German to be translated into English, Unitary patents examined in English to be translated into an official language of a participating member state. For applicants resident in a participating EU member state with a different official language, a compensation system for filing application in EPO official language will be set up.

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