In December 2012 agreement was reached on two Regulations for the implementation of unitary patent protection.
Regulation (EU) No 1257/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of the unitary patent and Regulation (EU) No 1260/2012 with regard to the applicable translations arrangements. Both Regulations will come into effect in tandem with the international Agreement on a Unified Patent Court.
A Select Committee of the Administrative Council of the European Patents Office (EPO), made up of representatives of the participating EU Member States was established to work on the implementation of the Unitary Patent. The Select Committee meets at the EPO in Munich and assumed responsibility for introducing the unitary patent, including the setting of fees. Ireland is represented on the Select Committee by officials from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland.
The work of the Select Committee has progressed well with a number of decisions overseeing implementation of the unitary patent system taken by the Committee during 2015. In June 2015 the Select Committee endorsed the “True Top 4” proposal tabled by the European Patent Office on the scale of annual renewal fees for unitary patents. The True Top 4 proposal corresponds to the sum total of renewal fees currently paid for the four most frequently validated countries i.e. Germany, France, UK and the Netherlands.
In November 2015 the Select Committee adopted another key financial aspect of the unitary patent regime i.e. the distribution key for determining the share of renewal fee and other income to be distributed among participating Member States. The parameters and weightings applied to the criterion were the subject of considerable negotiation and discussion.
In December 2015 a decision on the payment of the EPO’s costs incurred in administering the unitary patent regime on behalf of Member States was adopted.
The European Patents Offices publish updates on the work and composition of the Select Committee on their website.