EU Votes to Implement Unified Patent System


On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, European Union Parliament approved regulations establishing a Unitary Patent through the EPO that will allow applicants to obtain a single patent for most EU states. Final approval by the EU Council is expected later this month. Fish & Richardson’s John Pegram (New York) is following and reporting on the latest EU patent developments. John was quoted in an article published today, December 12, 2012, by Law360 regarding the adoption of the Unitary Patent.

When reached for comment on Tuesday, intellectual property attorney John Pegram, a senior principal in Fish & Richardson PC’s New York office, said that adoption of the unitary patent would raise significant issues related to the costs for patent holders.

“The real question will be what the annuities will be under the unitary patent. Most companies do not seek national patents in all of Europe,” Pegram said. “Companies will be comparing the costs of their existing practice of having three to five patents in Europe with those resulting from the unified patent.”
Pegram also noted that the unitary patent option would eliminate a patent holder’s ability to cease maintaining patent rights in any given country, especially toward the end of a patent’s life, when annuity rates increase. “Under the unitary patent, it’s all or nothing,” he said.