Closer to a unitary EU patent? Probably not

A recent announcement on behalf of the Swedish Government, which currently holds the presidency of the EU, suggested that a major step had been taken towards implementation of the long-awaited single patent for the European Union (rather than the bundle of individual national patents that can be obtained under the current system through the European Patent Office). It stated that:

"On 4 December, the Competitiveness Council - under the leadership of [Swedish] Minister for Trade Ewa Björling - reached a unanimous agreement on the general focus of the European patent regulation and Council conclusions on a common European Patent Court. This is a political breakthrough in these negotiations, which have been going on for a long time now, and is a significant step towards a final agreement. The next step will be for the European Parliament to take a position on the proposal. The European Court of Justice will also need to state its opinion on the new European Patent Court."

Unfortunately, however, it appears that no progress has been made on the biggest single obstacle to implementation of the unitary EU patent, namely agreement on the language requirements for the new system. It appears that in reality we are no closer to the day in which it will be possible to obtain a single patent effective throughout the EU, in the way that it is possible to obtain EU-wide trade mark and design protection.


13 December 2009

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