Sunday, 3 April 2011

European Commission to propose unitary patent protection for Europe

As baffling as having two football database cases proceeding in parallel is the whole Community patent thing. UPLS is dead in the water but the Community Restricted Area Patent (per the IPKat) lives on, now under the official title Unitary Patent Protection (UPP, not nearly as good as CRAP) subject to the previously almost unknown enhanced co-operation procedure. Conor Maguire, of Brussels Matters Ltd, drew my attention (and the attention of many others on LinkedIn!) to the following, which I have extracted from the Commission's Agenda:

On 13 April 2011, the European Commission will present proposals for a unitary patent protection for the EU and the applicable translation arrangements under enhanced cooperation. 
The proposals will ensure that:
  • The holders of European patents can apply for one single patent protection for the territory of 25 Member States at the European Patent Office (EPO); this will ensure the same level of protection for the inventions for 25 EU countries.
  • Patent applications can be submitted into any official language of the EU. However, building on the EPO's existing language regime, the applications continue to be examined and granted in English, French or German. The patent claims, defining the scope of the protection, will have to be translated to the other 2 official  languages of the EPO.
The background:
Commission proposals for a unitary patent protection have been under discussion for over a decade, but there has been stalemate in the Council over language rules. The Commission tried to unblock this with its June 2010 proposal on the EU Patent’s language requirements (see IP/10/870). However the EU's Council of Ministers was not able to find a unanimous agreement on this. Under a proposal from the Commission (see IP/10/1714), 25 EU countries have decided to move forward on this issue. At this stage, the two remaining countries, Italy and Spain, do not wish to participate but they have the possibility to join in the future.

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