Bulgaria will become the 25th European Union member state to join the block’s unified patent court agreement, the Council of the EU said on March 5.
“The formalities enabling Bulgaria to become the 25th signatory state to the Unified Patent Court agreement have been accomplished today,” the Council said in a statement.
The announcement was not surprising, since it was expected to join the agreement when it was signed in February, but was delayed over the need to complete certain internal procedures. Poland and Spain remain the two EU member states that have not signed the agreement, but the two countries can join at a later date.
The new court is meant to ensure the uniform applicability of patent law throughout the territories of the signatory countries and avoid the occurrence of multiple court cases with regard to the same patent in different member states. It will prevent contradictory court rulings on the same issues and is expected to reduce costs of patent litigation.
The central division of the court of first instance will be located in Paris, with specialised sections in London and Munich. The court is the third element of a “patent package” adopted by the Council of the EU in December 2012.
The establishment of a unitary patent system valid across the EU is expected to contribute to an increase in patent activity, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises. It will also contribute significantly to lowering the costs associated with obtaining a patent in the EU, the Council said at the time.
(Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)