Is the European Unitary Patent Closer to Reality?

Support from European Union countries for the European Unitary Patent appears to be moving along nicely, with Italy most recently signing up. In his article on the topic on IPWatchdog, MultiLing CEO Michael Sneddon updated readers on the status of the new system, which if ratified, will put one patent in effect across all EU member states that participate. Companies seeking protection in these countries won’t have to validate the patent in each of the individual countries, as they have to now with the existing patent system. TopVisual_de

This fall, Italy became the 26th member of the 28-member EU to join in, which the head of the EPO says is a huge step forward. But it’s definitely not a sure things, with several hurdles still facing the new unitary patent before companies can expect to use it to protect their IP throughout the EU, including Spain and Croatia continuing to fight the system, a slow ratification process and the possibility of a Brexit, which means the UK (one of the biggest supporters of the UP) might possibly leave the EU. (Read more details about these issues in Sneddon’s article).

The biggest hurdle, however, could be whether companies will want to test their valuable IP with a completely new system, especially with one patent infringement suit possibly invalidating the patent throughout multiple countries instead of just one. What do you think? Will your company embrace the European Unitary Patent or wait until it’s well tested?