03.07.2012 - No chunks for noone, nuggets for Paris, London and Munich. The EU commission finally agreed on the setting for the proposed EU patents court.
On 29 June at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, the EU heads of state agreed on a plan to implement a so far only proposed EU patents court which now could become functional in 2014. Currently, the European Patent Office (EPO) has responsibility for the examination and grant of 'European' patents, but once those patents are granted they become an individual patent in each country selected by the proprietor. Should the proprietors of the patents wish to enforce them they must do so in each country individually. The new court will maintain divisions in three different countries with France coming up with the most important one. The central division of the Court of First Instance (CFI) of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will be - together with the CFI-president's office in Paris. Subdivisions handling chemistry and pharmaceutics industry as well as mechanical engineering will be installed in London and Munich, respectfully. Although Munich has already the headquarters of the EPO the heavy lobbying for Munich as the place for a EU patents court did not suceed in the end.
The long awaited EU patents court will facilitate the introduction of patents with a unitary effect across the member states. However, Italy and Spain are excluded so far because they diagree with the current language arrangements. Uninvolved of the patents court agreement the unitary patent itself has to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The crucial step is the vote in the parliament on 3 and 4 July. The then following Council approval is merely a formality.
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