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EPO Welcomes Historic Breakthrough on the Unitary Patent

02-Jul-2012 | Source : AG-IP News | Visits : 7609
MUNICH - The European Patent Office (EPO) strongly welcomed the agreement reached by EU member states on the location of the central division of the future European patent court, which removes the last obstacle to the introduction of unitary patent protection in Europe, according to a press release by the office.

"Thanks to this long-awaited step towards the completion of the European patent system, Europe has demonstrated its conviction that boosting innovation and strengthening the competitiveness of its industry is the best way of countering the current economic uncertainties. The simplification of the existing patent system will bring particular benefits to small and medium-sized enterprises and to innovators in universities and research centres, " said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "I would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank all the European deciders who permitted to reach such an historic decision," he added.

After long discussions, the member states agreed that Paris should be the seat of the court's central division, with clusters in Munich and London. The European patent court will have exclusive jurisdiction in infringement and revocation proceedings involving European and unitary patents. It will be set up on the basis of an international treaty.

This decision paves the way for the adoption of the unitary patent, which will replace the requirement for national validation procedures with a single step, thereby reducing costs and greatly streamlining the present cumbersome arrangements for obtaining access to patent protection in Europe. The EPO has been designated to grant the unitary patent and centrally administer it on behalf of the 25 EU members which have agreed to participate. This will entail a number of additional tasks for the EPO, such as maintaining the register of unitary patents and collecting renewal fees.

"The EPO is well prepared to carry out these further tasks on behalf of the EU and the participant countries. We will be ready to start work immediately when the unitary patent package enters into force," said President Battistelli.
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