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Protecting and asserting your inventions in the reformed European patent system

Europe: The UPC & the Unitary Patent

Europe is carrying out the biggest reforms to the patent system since the European Patent Convention (EPC) came into effect in 1977. These changes will change the patent landscape in Europe. By the end of 2016 Europe will introduce a new type of patent for participating EU member states and establish a new European court dedicated to patent disputes:

The new unitary patent will be a single patent covering participating EU member states – unlike current European patents the unitary patent cannot be split into national components.

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) will be a patent court common to participating EU member states. It will hear patent disputes, including cases of infringement and invalidity, in several locations around Europe and will have its own international judiciary of legal and technical judges. The UPC will have a court of first instance and an appeal court.

These reforms have major implications for all users of the patent system, including patent licensees, patent applicants and patent owners. Partner David Sant previously headed the European Patent Office’s bureau in Brussels, working with the EU institutions on legislative proposals which led to the current reforms, and has an intimate knowledge of how the new regime will operate. Pearl Cohen’s European team, based in our London office, has extensive experience in all aspects of European patents and is assisting clients in adapting to the forthcoming reforms. The team will also keep you abreast of the latest news on the UPC and unitary patent.

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