Signing of the Unified Patent Court agreement

The international agreement for establishing a Unified Patent Court (UPC) was signed on 19 February in Brussels. It will ensure the uniform applicability of patent law throughout the territories of the signatory countries.

The new court will avoid the occurrence of multiple court cases with regard to the same patent in different member states. This will also prevent contradictory court rulings on the same issues. It will also reduce costs of patent litigation.

The UPC will be a court common to the contracting member states and thus subject to the same obligations under Union law as any national court. It is an international agreement concluded outside the EU institutional framework. Following the signing of the agreement, the ratification process by national parliaments can start. At least 13 member states will have to ratify the agreement for it to enter into force.

All the necessary decisions (designation of committees, budget, appointment of judges and president, recruitment of staff, facilities, etc.) should be adopted in a timely manner so as to enable the first registration of a European patent title with unitary effect in spring 2014.

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