The European Patent with Unitary Effect

The "EU patent" could fundamentally change the patent system in Europe.

At the current time, it is not certain if, when, and in which countries it will enter into force. The appropriate international agreement has already been ratified by 16 EU member states (status: May 2, 2018). It has to be ratified by at least 13 Member States, including Germany (not yet), France (already ratified), and the United Kingdom (already ratified). The current ratification status is available at the website of the European Council.
The win of "Leave" in the Brexit referendum means that the project is questioned.

Currently, there is actually therefore no need to worry about the EU patent yet. It is sufficient to be included on our "EU Patent Alerts" mailing list or follow us on Twitter (@Heuking_Patents). You will then receive an automatic notification as soon as things get serious, i.e. when there is real relevant progress on the introduction of the EU patent (e.g., ratification by other Member States or the adoption of the final version of the Rules of Procedure for court proceedings) - or if the project fails.

We patent lawyers of Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek are always observing the current development. We have put together some information on this page. We summarized the most important legal texts relating to the EU patent (Regulation (EU) 1257/2012, Agreement on a Unified Patent Court and the Draft Rules of Procedure) in our "EU Patent" textbook. This book also contains an overview in table form, which facilitates the introduction to the matter. You may order the book free of Charge (by mail to patent@heuking.de).

Contact

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Timeline

  • 2018
    April 26, 2018
    In spite of the planned Brexit, the United Kingdom is the fourteenth country that concluded the ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement.
  • 2018
    January 11, 2018
    Latvia is the thirteenth country that concluded the ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement.
  • 2017
    2017
    In the course of the year 2017, three additional countries ratified the agreement: Italy (February 10, 2017), Estonia (August 1, 2014), and Lithuania (August 24, 2017). Thus the number of countries, which finalized the ratification, has now increased to twelve.
  • 2016
    June 23, 2016
    In the United Kingdom, the referendum of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union has ended with a win for "Leave." Consequently, the planned EU patent is likely off the table.
  • 2016
    January 19, 2016
    Finland is the ninth country that concluded the ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement.
  • 2015
    August 28, 2015
    
Portugal is the eight country that concluded the ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement.
  • 2015
    May 22, 2015
    As seventh Member State, Luxemburg ratified the European Patent Convention.
  • 2015
    May 5, 2015
    On May 5, 2015 the EJC dismissed both of Spain’s actions against the EU-Patent, for more information have a look at ECJ press release. More information is available at our website.
  • 2014
    December 9, 2014
    Malta became the sixth country to ratify the agreement on December 9, 2014.
  • 2014
    June 20, 2014
    In June, three additional countries ratified the agreement: Belgium (June 5, 2014), Sweden (June 6, 2014), and Denmark (June 20, 2014). Thus the number of countries, which finalized the ratification, has now increased to five.
  • 2014
    May 25, 2014
    Elections to the European Parliament were held, and at the same time, Denmark held a referendum on the EU patent.It obtained 62.5% approval.
  • 2014
    February 19, 2014
    One year after signing the agreement only one Member State ratified the "Agreement on a Unifiedorm Patent Court," namely Austria. This means that Regulation (EU) 1257/2012 also does not apply yet. According to its Art. 18(2), the EU Regulation will only apply as of the date on which the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court enters into effect. Art. 89(1) of the Agreement requires in turn ratification of the agreement by at least 13 Member States, including the three countries that are the source of the most patent applications (Germany, France, and the United Kingdom).
  • 2013
    August 8, 2013
    Austria is the first country that ratified the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. See: Press release by the Austrian Foreign Ministry.
  • 2013
    February 19, 2013
    Agreement signed - on February 19, 2013, the "Agreement on a Unified Patent Court" was signed under international law in Brussels by the government representatives of numerous EU Member States, see Communication of the Council. Spain and Poland did not sign, Italy signed only with reservation regarding the unitary effect. According to Article 89(1), the Agreement will only enter into force if it is ratified by at least 13 Member States (i.e. confirmed by the national parliaments).
  • 2012
    December 11, 2012
    The European Parliament approves the package of EU patent, language regime, and patent court. The resolution by the European Parliament was confirmed by the Council on December 17, 2012.
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