After decades of discussion and hundreds of hearings, the European Union officially authorized the Unified Patent Court Agreement in Brussels this week. Signed by 24 EU member states, the accord will go into force after formal ratification from 13 nations still reviewing the details.
"The signing of the UPC agreement is a decisive step toward the long-awaited introduction of a truly supranational patent system in Europe," said European Patent Office president Benoit Battistelli. "Following the endorsement of the unitary patent package by the European Parliament and Council in December 2012, the creation of a European court specialized in patent matters will be a tremendous boost for the completion of the European patent system."
As Richard Bruton, Ireland's minister for jobs, enterprise and innovation, told European Voice, the consolidation of the continent's patent management machinery will afford firms greater access to comprehensive protections at affordable rates.
Bulgaria, Poland and Spain have decided to retain their independence from this new system. However, Italy has adapted its formerly critical view of the Unified Patent Court and decided to sign the new accord.