(CN) - Europe now has a single patent system - and soon, a dedicated court - across 27 of its 28 member states, the European Commission announced Thursday.
Efforts to create a unitary patent package and extend its legal effects across the EU have not been successful more than 40 years, regulators said. In fact, the commission tabled its own efforts for a single patent system as recently as 2011.
But the following year, EU lawmakers finally agreed on a unitary patent package for Europe, paving the way for international agreement
of the Unified Patent Court in 2013.
Inventors and companies will now be able to apply for a patent with a single application and without extra administrative formalities, which included validation and translation requirements in the past. The commission promised the streamlined process will be much cheaper as well.
Meanwhile, the Unified Patent Court will handle all infringement disputes over old-style patents, as well as the new unitary ones, once member states sign off on the court's creation. It will be "a single specialized patent court, with local and regional presence around the EU," according to a statement by the commission.
"Instead of parallel litigation in national courts, the parties will be able to get swift and high quality decisions for all states where the patent is valid," the commission said.
After the new system is enrolled as law next month it will be immediately applicable throughout the entire EU, except Denmark.