- EU patent looks almost certain
- Patents could be filed from spring 2014
- Cheaper, simpler system for patentees
A vote by MEPs in December in favour of the unitary patent means that IP owners planning their patent filing strategies could soon have a new way of protecting their rights in Europe.
At the moment, inventors in Europe can use two routes: they can file directly with national patent offices or they can apply for a European patent, submitting a single patent application to the European Patent Office and nominating the countries where they would like protection. Once granted, a European patent must be enforced separately in each country in which it is registered.
From 2014, IP owners could have a new option open to them: the unitary patent.
The timetable depends on the unified patent court agreement being ratified by 13 member states (including France, Germany and the UK) later this...