EU Summit Settles on Paris, London and Munich as Shared Sites for Unified Patent Court  

 
On 29 June 2012, the European Union (EU) summit in Brussels reached agreement on the location of the unified EU patent court, thus clearing the last outstanding hurdle to the creation of a single EU patent system, which has been an issue of decades-long debate.
 
According to the agreed proposal, the location of the unified patent court will be shared by Paris, London and Munich, wherein Paris will serve as the central division, and the other two cities as subdivisions. London will specialize on cases related to pharmaceuticals, life sciences, and chemistry, whereas Munich will deal with applications concerned with mechanical engineering, lighting and thermal engineering. For foreign-related cases where the defendant is domiciled in non-EU jurisdictions and cases concerning validity or declarations of non-infringement, they will need to be brought before the central division.
 
The unified patent court is part of the EU’s efforts to increase the region’s global competitiveness in the industry. As patents granted in a single place will be valid across 25 participating European countries, patents could be obtained and protected at significantly lower cost under the unified court system.
 
The agreement will have to be signed and ratified by the EU member states. If the processes go smoothly, the patent court may at the earliest start handling cases in 2014.