Bulgarian Government in resignation approved a draft agreement establishing a Unified Patent Court

The Bulgarian Government in resignation approved a draft agreement establishing a Unified Patent Court which would be concluded between Bulgaria, Austria, Belgium, Greece, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, the Portuguese Republic, Romania, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

The Unified Patent Court will work to resolve disputes on infringement and invalidity of European patents granted under the European Patent Convention, European patents with unitary effect and supplementary protection certificates for such patents. The court is common to the Contracting Member States. Its system is decentralized. The proceedings of the patent court will include first and appeal instance. The Court of first instance is decentralized and includes the Central, local and regional units. The Central Division is headquartered in Paris with branches in London and Munich. Local or regional departments will be established at the request of the Contracting States concerned. The decisions of all divisions of the Court of first instance and the decisions of the Appellate Court shall be enforceable in each Contracting Member State.

The Agreement on the Unified Patent Court will strengthen European integration process and is seen as a part of the development of the internal market within the EU. It will be characterized by the free movement of goods and services and a system ensuring non-infringement of competition.

The document is part of the project for a unified EU patent system aimed at stimulating innovations on the continent. The Unified patent court is the second pillar of this system together with the unitary patent protection, established by a regulation of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on December 17, 2012.

The agreement removes the existing fragmentation of the patent system in Europe, characterized by costly and risky litigation that takes place in many national courts and often ends with conflicting decisions. The creation of the Unified Patent Court will provide a common practice in patent protection and will help reduce the cost of litigation because the parties will not have to keep parallel proceedings before various national jurisdictions.

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