On 27 June 2011, 25 member states of the European Union entered into an Agreement which paves the way for a unitary patent system in Europe.
Currently, patent applicants who wish to obtain patent protection in multiple European countries must bear the cost of preparing and filing multiple translations in order to have their patents validated in each European country of interest. According to the Agreement, an application for a unitary patent can be filed in English, French or German. Any patent which is granted will have effect throughout the 25 member states without the need to file multiple translations, which has the potential to save applicants thousands of dollars in translation fees.
The agreement was not acceptable to Italy and Spain, which voted against the proposal because Italian and Spanish were not included as official languages. The Agreement was reached by providing Italy and Spain with an opt-out. However, the door remains open for Italy and Spain to join the Agreement at a later date. Even if Agreement is reached, it will likely be an additional two years until the unitary patent system is a reality.
Contact Joseph S. Heino (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 414-225-1452 or your Davis & Kuelthau attorney for more information regarding patent protection in Europe.