Long-Awaited EU Unitary Patent Possible As Prospects Brighten

There has been much speculation as to whether or not the EU will create a unitary patent protection as well as a unified patent litigation system. Our friends at Foley & Lardner sent in this article discussing the status of the unitary patent and the likelihood that a  final political agreement will be reached.

Previous Attempts to Create a Unitary Patent Protection

The proposal was reformulated in 2009, after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which introduced a new legal basis for the creation of EU IP rights. According to article 118 of the TFEU1, the creation of European IP rights follows the co-decision procedure, where the European Parliament must vote on the Commission’s proposal, and the Council votes by qualified majority. However, any language arrangements for the European IP rights require unanimity in the Council and only the consultation of the European Parliament.

Even though a general approach was agreed on in late 2009, between the EU ministers, regarding the creation of the EU patent, the translation arrangements remained out of the scope of the agreement. Discussion on the translation arrangements continued throughout 2010. However, it soon became clear that the required unanimity would not be reached. In light of this, several member states showed interest in establishing an enhanced cooperation between themselves. (more…)