On 13 April 2011 the European Commission adopted The Single Market Act which contains twelve instruments for re-launching the European Union's Single Market in 2012. One of these instruments intends to deliver unitary patent protection in Europe. The aim is to grant the first unitary EU patents in 2013.
Currently, although there is a unitary patent prosecution system implemented by the European Patent Office, following the grant of a European patent the applicant has to request validation of that patent in each state where patent protection is sought. Even after the implementation of the London Agreement in 2008, which reduced the translation requirements for granted European patents in 15 member states, there is still a considerable financial and administrative burden for applicants wishing to validate a granted European patent in a number of countries. It is estimated that the cost of validating a European patent in 13 member states is €12,500, rising to €32,000 for validation in all of the 27 member states. This often dissuades applicants from validating granted European patents in many countries.
Efforts toward a Unitary Patent
The implementation of a unitary European patent has been discussed for many years. Recently, significant efforts have been made since 2000, but without success. The lack of...