EU patent: is this really the last mile?


Michiel Rijsdijk

A new unitary European Union patent is supposed to be the successor of the European patent (EP).

The current EP is actually a bundle of national patents and is subject to every national law. To cover the entire EU, translation into all 34 languages is needed.

It takes time to obtain an EP and there are considerable costs involved, both of which put Europe in a poor competitive position against, for example, the US. For some time we have eagerly awaited the new unitary patent: it would be not only much more effective but also cheaper. In addition, a unitary patent that applies directly to all member states is more suited to the unitary market of the EU.

Two separate categories exist: the translation regulation and the unitary patent regulation together, and the unitary patent treaty. According to the translation regulation French, German and English will be the official languages for the unitary patent, so just one translation is required. Italy and Spain challenged this legislation, and even went to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU).

EU patent, CJEU, EPO, unitary patent, UPC