Since the dismissal by the Court of Justice of the European
Union of Spain's actions on 5 May 2015 a number of positive
decisions are coming from the unitary patent / UPC scene:
1) By the end of May, Italy had announced to be willing to
become a "unitary patent member state". Last week the
Italian government formalized its intention by means of an official
request to the European Commission to join the enhanced cooperation
regarding the unitary patent. This means that the Unitary Patent
club will have 26 member states by (the latest) November 2015.
2) A second major breakthrough came from the side of the Select
Committee of the Administrative Council of the EPO. This committee
is to determine the level of renewal fees for the Unitary Patent.
After hard negotiations, the committee agreed to the European
Patent Office's "True Top 4″ proposal. This means
that in the future a patentee will be able to receive a Unitary
Patent protection in 26 European countries (including Italy) for
the same price as he currently pays for validation of a European
patent in the 4 most used member states.
The renewal fees will be less than 5.000 EUR during the first 10
years of the patent. The cumulative total to be paid over the full
20-year term will be just over 35.555 EUR. Currently, the total
amount of renewal fees for a European patent validated in 25 member
states is 29.500 EUR during the first ten years and 158 621 EUR in
total. In other words, the True Top 4 decision corresponds to a
reduction of 78% compared to the current situation.
The Select Committee now has to decide on the distribution key
of the renewal fees. The Committee hopes to end the negotiations on
the distribution key in autumn of this year.
3) Germany informed the members of the Preparatory Committee
that it will launch its ratification bill in the second half of
2015. The UK has formally indicated that its ratification process
would be completed in spring 2016 (i.e. before the UK referendum on
EU membership). This would mean that by the spring of 2016, the
necessary 13 ratifications (including UK, FR and Germany) would be
4) On 10 July 2015, the 18th draft of the Rules of procedure was
presented to the Preparatory Committee. No discussion on substance
took place at this meeting, but hopes are that this will be the
final draft. At the meeting of the Preparatory Committee on 13
October 2015, the Preparatory Committee intends to finalize the
Rules of Procedure.
No wonder most protagonists of the unitary patent package showed
a great deal of optimism at the Premier Cercle annual UPC
conference in sunny Munich yesterday. The dates of late 2016 and
beginning 2017 were recalled for the first Unitary Patents and the
first cases at the Unified Patent Court. This summer we have one
reason more to go to Italy...
Originally published by Kluwer Patent Blog.
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The chapter on the UK summarises the IP court and litigation system in the UK, recent developments in relation to IP law and practice, the forms and availability of IP protection and trends and outlook in the IP sphere.
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