European Community Patent
What is it?
The European Community Patent is proposed European Union patent legislation that would allow individuals and companies to obtain unitary patent protection in almost all EU countries. European patents, once granted, become nationally enforceable in the states designated by the applicant. Disputes concerning both future unitary patents and current ‘classical’ European patents will be handled by the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which will have a decentralised Court of First Instance. The court’s central division will be in the French capital Paris, Munich will deal with applications relating to mechanical engineering, and the UK end of the operation will be responsible for patents on pharmaceuticals and chemicals. The seat of the Court of Appeal will be in Luxembourg.
Why is it important?
Currently, patent protection in the European Union can be obtained either through the national patent offices of the Member States, which grant national patents, or through the European Patent Office (EPO) within the framework of the European Patent Convention. Unfortunately, the existing system involves very high costs and administrative burdens for applicants. The new system, with the unitary patent title, will make it possible to obtain patent protection for the Member States participating in the unitary patent scheme on the basis of a single application and without further administrative formalities, such as validation and translation requirements in the Member States. The patent “package” (the unitary patent and the unified patent court) will enter into force as soon as 13 Member States, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, have ratified the 2013 agreement on the Unified Patent Court.
Currently, engineering companies that supply many of the critical enabling technologies have to deal with a European patent system that does not sufficiently meet their needs. Orgalime has always supported the efforts of the Commission and the EU Presidencies to reach a compromise on the European unitary patent and the future common patent jurisdiction. Our industry needs a community patent which is based on a competitive language regime and which brings considerable improvement to European engineering companies compared to the situation today.
How we’ve been engaged
In Orgalime position papers we have outlined our views on the community patent and the criteria it needs to fulfil. We have also commented on the language regime of the future unified patent jurisdiction system, as well as on the qualification of judges, the composition of the panels and on split jurisdiction.