At long last, the European Patent Office (EPO) has launched the Unitary Patent system. This allows patent applicants to apply for a single patent that will be valid in all 17 European countries that have joined the system so far.
We wrote about this all the way back in 2013, noting that the Unitary Patent system had been in development since the 1960s. Ten years ago, we thought that the new system might be in place by 2015.
According to the EPO,
The step marks the single most important development in the European patent system in the last fifty years since the signing of the European Patent Convention on 5 October 1973…
Under the new system, patents are subject to a single renewal fee in a single currency. Disputes can be litigated under a single legal system before the new Unified Patent Court (UPC). Read more