An agreement on a unified patent court has been signed by 24 member states of the European Union on February 19th 2013.
This agreement creates a specialized European patent court having exclusive jurisdiction for litigation concerning European patents and future unitary patents (read our news “Towards a patent of the European Union”).
Previously, only national courts had jurisdiction to deal with European patent infringement cases. Thus, in order to enforce his rights, the patent owner had to initiate legal actions in each country concerned by the infringement acts. This situation involved high costs of litigation and resulted in a legal uncertainty due to the fact that national courts interpret and apply differently the European patent law.
The unified court should lead to a uniform application of European patent law and a significant reduction of the costs of pan-European patent litigation.
The Court of first instance will have its seat in Paris and two sections, in London and Munich. The Court of appeal will be situated in Luxembourg.
To enter into force, the Agreement must be ratified by at least thirteen member states including Germany, France and United Kingdom.