24 EU Members Sign Unified Patent Court Agreement

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By Dugie Standeford for Intellectual Property Watch

Twenty-four members of the European Union today signed the unified patent court agreement in
Brussels, including Italy.

[Update:] Bulgaria became the 25th EU member to sign, on 5 March.

The event “is an important milestone in the continued development of the single market,” Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprises and Innovation Richard Bruton said. But “there is still some way to
go” to achieve the goal of pan-EU patent protection at an affordable price, Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said at an 18 February Brussels conference.

Four major challenges remain, he said: (1) Getting the remaining governments to sign. Bulgaria will do so once it completes internal administrative procedures, Poland and Spain have refused to join but could do so later if they wish. (2) Having the pact ratified by national parliaments. (3) Ensuring that the new patent system actually works. (4) Making sure the court is fully operational.

“We must face facts,” he said: “Making all this come true in a very short ‘time frame’ will not be easy and will require a lot of work.”

The UK Business Secretary issued a press statement, available here.

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