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EU: Introduction of a unitary EU patent moves closer

09-16-2011 12:22 PM CET | Politics, Law & Society

Press release from: bunk-alliance Rechtsanwälte

On 26.06.2011, the EU Council of Ministers, on request of several delegations, released a general approach on the two draft regulations on the EU patent. Prior to this, the non-participating member states, Spain and Italy had filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Justice with regard to the Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection. By the lawsuit, Spain and Italy turn against the other 25 member states and their agreement to an enhanced cooperation, which has been concluded after the community patent throughout the EU failed at the end of 2010 due to Spain’s and Italy’s opposition. The main obstacle between Italy and Spain on the one hand side and the other member states on the other hand side, is the envisaged language provision.
In the scope of this enhanced cooperation, the European commission has now presented a compromise proposal for both regulations. Besides the language provision, questions were pending open between the participating member states with regard to the participation in annual fees and the criteria for distribution of those fees.

a) Therefore next to the national and the classic European patent, a unitary EU patent shall be introduced as a parallel option, with the peculiarity, that the unitary EU patent would have a unified effect in all participating member states. Along with this, the owner of a patent shall have the right to prohibit the infringement of his patent in all participating EU member states under the same conditions. By that, the new unitary EU patent would differ from the current European patent. In the current proceedings in order to obtain European patent, the owner of a patent has to apply and register his patents in one of the member states of the European Patent Organization and concurrently name the other member states, in which he wants the protection of the patent to be extended to. The result of this is that the current European patent has to fulfill the respective national regulations of all named countries, in which the protection of the patent shall be extended, and moreover regularly also be translated into the official language of the respective country.

A company’s time and cost efforts shall now be reduced by the new unitary EU patent.

The present proposal for the regulation therefore provides for a solution, in which the new EU patent shall automatically be extended upon all participating member states of the regulation and with regard to the language provisions, the current language provisions of the European Patent Office (EPO) shall be adapted.

b) Those language regulations provide that a patent does not have to be translated manually, but the translation procedure is done in a high quality automatic manner into the three official languages of the EPO - German, English and French. The administration for the new EU patent shall also be located at the European Patent Office in Munich, which therefore would take on the administration of the applications of the patent owners in a standardized manner, and would be responsible for the charging, administering and distribution of the annual fees for the unitary EU patent and for the maintenance of the register, which shall also contain license rights, transfer of rights, restrictions, recessions and cancellations of unitary EU patents.

As a next step, the European Parliament has to give its votes on the compromise proposals of both regulations. At the same time, the introduction of an efficient patent jurisdiction on EU-level should be pursued, since both projects can only be realized jointly.

Contact Person: Vanessa Lichter, Esq.,

The law firm was established in 2003 by Dr. Artur Bunk, an Attorney-at-Law. Qualified in 1995, he was admitted to the Frankfurt Bar in 1997 after obtaining an LL.D. in European Law at the University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder). During his career he has worked with the German law firm Pünder, Volhard, Weber & Axster (now Clifford Chance), was Head of Office at Rödl & Partner in Poland, and Senior Legal Counsel at the Legal and Restructuring Department of KfW. In addition to German, he also speaks fluent English and Polish.

Our offices are based around 45 minutes from Frankfurt/Main International Airport in and approx. the same distance from Frankfurt City.

Thanks to the professional experience and background of our Principal and our Attorneys we are in a position to meet the highest requirements and expectations of international clients. The decisive focus on international clients, which forms an integral part of our business philosophy, enabled us to establish a profound know-how base on international matters unmatched by law offices of comparable size and background. With our network of external consultants (auditors, tax advisors), we are well equipped to perform advisory services usually only found in much larger law offices. Our comparatively low overheads and flexibility enable us to provide our services on a competitive basis.
bunk-alliance has established a close cooperation with law offices in Italy, India, Poland, Slovakia, with auditors and tax advisory offices in Germany and Poland and various governmental agencies.

Office Worms
Goethestr. 15
67547 Worms

Phone: +49 6241 97249 0
Fax: +49 6241 97249 11

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