EU to Establish a Unitary Patent System
After more than 30 years of negotiation, the European Parliament recently approved three proposals aimed to establish a unitary patent system for member states of the European Union. These proposals involve a unitary patent that would be valid across 25 EU member states (the only countries not included are Spain and Italy). Such unitary patents must be submitted in English, French, or German. Moreover, a specialized Unified Patent Court will have exclusive jurisdiction over infringement and validity questions pertaining to unitary EU patents. The earliest expected effective date of these proposals is January 2014.