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Unified Patent: Set to fail before its even started?

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 13 October 2017

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When the Unified Patent System was first announced, it looked to be the improvement needed to raise the European Patent system up with the other IP rights.

Where previous systems had failed, the Unified Patent promised a more straightforward and cost-effective system for business across the EU.

However, it seems not all shared the enthusiasm as a block in Germany make break down the whole system before it has begun.

For the Unified Patent system to be introduced by the EU, 13 Member States must sign the agreement to integrate the unified system with their national system.

While the agreement has 13 signatories as it stands, the important ones have not raised their hand in agreement.

The Unified Patent system will follow on from the current patent system adopting three official languages, English, French and German. Therefore, the UK, Germany and France must be amongst those 13 signatories for the system to go ahead.

It was thought the killer blow to the Unified Patent may be Brexit, which the UK voting to formally leave the EU.

However, it seems Germany is looking to join the fight after an administrative challenge was brought against the German Government. While the finer details of the challenge have been kept under wraps, the reason for the challenge seems to mirror the challenge made by Gina Miller following Brexit. A challenge to determine if the Government had acted without the proper authority.

If this challenge goes against the Government, the Unified Patent system is sure to be a non-starter with two of three official language countries not adopting the agreement.

Time will tell if the European Patent system will ever put businesses first and raise its level of harmony to that of other IP rights across the EU.

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