According to a publication on the website of the European Patent Office (www.epo.org), significant progress has recently been made towards the unitary patent. The Select Committee, which was set up by the original 25 member states participating in the unitary patent, has agreed on the distribution of income generated by the payment of the uniform renewal fees to the European Patent Office (EPO).

The EPO is entitled to 50% of each renewal fee, but there has been considerable discussion around the distribution of the remaining 50% among the member states participating in the unitary patent. Finally we now have agreement that the remaining 50% will be distributed according to a formula that takes account of the GDP and the number of applications filed from that country.

This is an important step towards the unitary patent and follows on from the agreement on 24 June 2015 on the level of the renewal fees (see related articles, right). Since Italy formally joined the enhanced co-operation procedure through which the unitary patent will be created on 30 September 2015, this fee level has become even more attractive.