Date: 9 September 2013
In December 2012 when the European Parliament approved the Regulation establishing enhanced co-operation in a Unitary Patent there were 25 European Union member states requesting participation.
Croatia, which joined the EU on 1 July 2013 is also expected to participate. Italy is not among the participating states, but Italy has signed the Court Agreement, so that national Italian patents granted through the EPO can come under the jurisdiction of the Unified Court, andthe government of Italy has subsequently indicated its intention to participate in the Unitary Patent too.
Spain has declined from the outset.
Poland has reconsidered on economic grounds and has not signed the Court Agreement (it may yet do so). If Poland delays until after the first unitary patents are registered, those patents will not extend to Poland.
The effect is that there are now three concentric circles within the European patent system; the outermost ring, consisting of countries that are EPC Member States but not EU Member States (including Norway, Turkey, and Switzerland); the middle ring consisting of countries that are EPC Member States and EU Member States (all EU Member States are also EPC States) but not members of the Court Agreement (Spain and Poland) or have yet to participate in enhanced co-operation (Italy), and the innermost circle consisting of countries which are EPC, EU and Court Agreement states.
Monday, September 9, 2013