Unitary patent and patent court for EU

The European union has recently agreed to a unitary patent and a unified patent court.

Applicants will soon have the option to file a single patent for a majority of the EU member countries.

The earliest possible date for the changes is 1 January 2014, however the actual date is likely to be later.

A significant advantage may be reduced costs to obtain and maintain unitary patents when protection is needed in 5 or more European countries.

The unitary patent protects inventions in 25 of the 27 countries of the EU. Italy and Spain will not be participating.

The unified patent court will have exclusive jurisdiction for disputes relating to unitary patents including infringement, revocation, and declarations of noninfringement. The unified patent court will eventually have exclusive jurisdiction in participating countries even for non-unitary European patents, including those granted before the package comes into effect.