Why we get the European Patent Courts?
At present, unified patent protection on a Europe-wide basis is available only by way of European patents, which are granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) on the basis of the European Patent Convention (EPC). After being granted, the European patent breaks up into a bundle of national property rights. As a consequence, annual fees have to be paid separately for each country designated in the European patent. A further disadvantage is that in many countries (for example Italy and Spain) the European patent has to be entirely translated into the relevant national language.
Changes for the patent owner?
In future it will be possible to apply for unified European patents which have the same effect in all EU countries at the European Patent Office (Spain is excluded from this decision up to now).The intention of this is to provide a system of administering and maintaining patents that is more cost-effective for the applicant. European patents can then be enforced by way of a unified legal system within the European Union (EU). Enforcements will no longer be managed individually in each member state. This legal system will consist of European patent infringement courts especially set up for this purpose and based in London, Paris, Munich and Luxembourg.
When will the courts start?
It will take a while before this European patent system is finally established – in particular various questions relating to the costs have not yet been legislated for. However, KNH Patentanwälte is already set for the new system: even now, Ditmar Neumann and Matthias Rößler, who are both patent attorneys, are entitled to act as representatives of these courts as a result of their Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees so that even in the future we are able to defend our clients interests seamlessly right across Europe.