Member States of the European Union, after several decades have managed to now successfully negotiated a significant change for patents, this being the European patent with unitary effect (“unitary patent”) and a unified European patent court. This has been granted by the European Patent Office, which is the third largest European organisation.
Previously, inventors would have to apply to individual member states in order to enjoy protection and in the event of a dispute, separate litigation would occur in that country. Following the new proposals, inventions can now enjoy protection in the current 25 member states currently signed to the agreement, with a further three expected to ratify the agreement in the near future.
Any litigation proceedings are undertaken through the Unified Patent Court and the savings in going down this route versus the current system are motivating in itself. These include translation costs, renewal fees, admin costs and enforcement.
For the member states which are not signed up, there is still the classical patent taking effect where the inventor may still enjoy and/or apply for protection.