15 December 2015
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On proposal of the European Patent Office (EPO), the Select Committee which represents the EU member states participating in the new Unitary Patent, has formalised today a series of agreements into a complete secondary legal framework comprising the implementing rules, budgetary and financial rules, the level of the renewal fees and the rules concerning the distribution of the renewal fees between the EPO and the participating member states.
Welcoming these landmark decisions, EPO President Benoît Battistelli said, "This is a hugely significant occasion for the European patent system. With the adoption of these rules today, the preparations for the unitary patent are complete. We are now legally, technically and operationally ready to deliver the unitary patent. The only remaining step is the opening of the Unified Patent Court and the finalisation of the ratification process at national level. We hope this will happen in 2016 and we are convinced that it will boost innovation in Europe and will be beneficial for the European economy, especially for European SMEs."
A necessary pre-requisite for the Unitary Patent system to start will be the existence of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) in which any such Unitary Patents can be challenged or enforced. Once thirteen states, including France Germany and the UK, have ratified the Treaty establishing the UPC, both the Court and the Unitary Patent system will come to life. So far eight states, including France, have ratified, with several more expected to ratify shortly.