What the unitary patent means for patent attorneys
The unitary patent is just the latest in a long line of steps towards harmonised patent filing in Europe. Adam Majeed examines how prosecution firms are adapting their business models
First, in 1996, there was the Community trade mark (CTM).
Then, in 2003 the registered Community design (RCD). Now, after
decades of discussion, it looks like the pan-EU patent will be
born in 2014. It's not quite the long-promised Community patent
– Spain and Italy are for the time being outside the
system – but the so-called unitary patent will
nevertheless enable applicants for the first time to have a
single patent right covering most of the European Union. If the
system works as intended, patent owners will save money on
application and renewal fees, while portfolio management and
enforcement will become much simpler.
For patent attorneys, though, the introduction of unitary
patents threatens to overturn many of their established
business practices. Some fear a drop in referral work, as well
as less demand for the lucrative so-called validation and
translation of European patents, which has been the backbone of
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