29 June 2012

Today, History is Written in Brussels: European Patent System agreed on after 40 years of Discussion

Today (29 June 2012) is a truly historic day for the European Union and the European patent community!

After some 40 years of discussion (the Community Patent Convention was signed on 15 December 1975) the EU Summit (European Council) finally aggreed on a EU Patent System involving a Unitary Patent valid in 25 out ot 27 EU member states (Italy and Spain still refuse to accede) and a Unified Patent Court for handling centralised EU-wide litigation and revocation actions.

Document EUCO 76/12 of the European Council, 28/29 June 2012, concludes: 
Heads of State or Government of the participating Member States agreed on the solution for the last outstanding issue of the patents package, namely the seat of the Central Division of the Court of First Instance of the Unified Patent Court (UPC). That seat, along with the office of the President of the Court of First Instance, will be located in Paris. The first President of the Court of First Instance should come from the Member State hosting the central division.

Given the highly specialised nature of patent litigation and the need to maintain high quality standards, thematic clusters will be created in two sections of the Central Division, one in London (chemistry, including pharmaceuticals, classification C, human necessities, classification A), the other in Munich (mechanical engineering, classification F).

Concerning actions to be brought to the central division, it was agreed that parties will have the choice to bring an infringement action before the central division if the defendant is domiciled outside the European Union. Furthermore if a revocation action is already pending before the central division the patent holder should have the possibility to bring an infringement action to the central division. There will be no possibility for the defendant to request a transfer of an infringement case from a local division to the central division if the defendant is domiciled within the European Union.

We suggest that Articles 6 to 8 of the Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection to be adopted by the Council and the European Parliament be deleted.
 For further information, please refer to our today's article titled "BREAKING: Agreement On EU Unitary Patent Reached" on the ksnh::law blog.