In a rare moment of consensus in Europe, last week EU member states agreed to create a Unitary Patent Central Court accompanied by two sector specific Courts.
Paris will host the central division of the unitary patent court, while mechanical engineering cases will be heard in Munich and chemistry and human necessities (including pharmaceutical cases) will be heard in London.
What does this mean for EU patents? The Unitary Patent Central Court forms part of a broader European unitary patent system which will come into effect in 2014, through which patent holders can apply for one ‘EU Unitary Patent’ rather than applying to local patent offices. The three Courts agreed upon last week will have exclusive jurisdiction to hear disputes concerning European patents.
Advocates of the new system suggest that it will be more consistent, and allow more specialisation by judges and simplicity for patentees.