Today, the German government deposited its instrument of ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA) with the Council of the European Union.
Great news for all of those seeking harmonization of patent law: The Unified Patent Court (UPC) will open its doors on 1 June of this year. This historic date marks an enormous accomplishment, the story of which started 150 years ago in Vienna, when a patent congress was held alongside the large World Exposition in the Austria-Hungarian capital Vienna. After that exhibition, governments became aware of an urgent need to harmonize industrial property laws.
The first success was the Paris Convention, by which a Union of member states created a priority right for inventors. Although a unified, global patent system and a world patent was the aim from the very beginning, that would only become possible after WWII. The Congress of Europe brought together politicians, government representatives and members of civil society in The Hague in 1948. This congress resulted in the Council of Europe, and ultimately in economic integration through what is now the European Union. It is that European Union where union law supersedes national law, under which harmonization became possible.
Unified Patent Court
The establishment of the European Patent Office (EPO) in 1973 resulted in a harmonized procedure for the grant of a European patent. Infringement and validity was still a matter of national law of member states. The European patent with unitary effect, in short, the unitary patent, is the result of initiatives between the EPO and the EU, and for which it was necessary to create a single court: the Unified Patent Court. The option will exists for the effect of new European patents to be unitary as of 1 June, but the real accomplishment is in the unification: the Unified Patent Court.
V.O. is fully prepared to participate on the new stage of the UPC and to advise clients.
See our UPC dossier