19/02/2013 - Competitivness Council (COMPET)
Agreement on Unified Patent Court signed
On the sidelines of today's Council meeting, 24 member states signed the international agreement establishing a Unified Patent Court (UPC). Once the agreement enters into force, the signatory countries will form a unified area as regards patent law.
Richard Bruton, Irish Minister for Jobs,
Enterprise and Innovation and President of the Council,
with EU Ministers participating in the signature ceremony
© European Union 2013
So far, the same patent case often had to be heard in multiple courts in different member states. The findings of the new court, however, will be applicable and thus achieve legal security across the territories of all signatory countries. By the same token, the UPC will prevent contradictory rulings and reduce the cost of patent litigation.
This complex issue has been discussed for decades, and it took a decision to allow an enhanced cooperation to resolve it. Such a decision makes it possible for a group of member states to adopt common rules where no EU-wide agreement can be reached.
In two member states, the internal procedures necessary to authorise the signature are still pending, and one member state decided not to sign. All these member states can still accede to the agreement at a later date.
The agreement will enter into force as soon as it has been ratified by 13 member states.
The UPC is the third element of what is known as the patent package. Two regulations establishing enhanced cooperation for unitary patent protection and its translation arrangements were adopted in December 2012.