Further to the European Parliament’s adoption on 11 December 2012 of the "patent package" encompassing the required legislative procedures for the set up of a European unitary patent, the text of the three legal instruments thereof has been finalised and published.
Among them, the regulations on the creation of unitary patent and on the translation arrangements for the purpose were adopted on 17 December 2012, whereas the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC) will be open for signature by the 25 participating member states starting 19 February 2013. For the intergovernmental agreement to enter into force, it will need to be ratified by at least 13 of the member states, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
According to the time schedule for the implementation of the new system, unitary patent is expected to be available for application from 1 January 2014 or from the date of the entry into force of the Agreement on a UPC, whichever is the later. The unitary patent will serve as an added option on top of existing national patents and classcial European patents.