The Unified Patent Court Agreement was formally signed by the 24 participating Member States on 19 February 2013. This was a formal stage in the process towards the creation and implementation of the Unified Patent system. There are still a number of important details that need to be finalised (such as the costs of both the system itself and of the Court) and the process of ratification is likely to take some considerable time. The European Patent Office appears keen to maintain the pace of change, announcing that its Select Committee of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation dealing with the unitary patent held its first session on 20 March 2013.

The EPO has been entrusted with granting and administering unitary patents. The Select Committee started the discussion of its rules of procedure and the planning of its further work over the coming months. EPO President Benoît Battistelli commented that the commencement of the Committee’s work “shows the strong commitment of the participant member states to keep up the momentum and bring the unitary patent project to a successful conclusion”.