February Meeting: The European Unitary Patent System

On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, please join us in welcoming Dr. Matthew Barton to speak on The European Unitary Patent System.

The current European Patent system does not lead to the grant of a true Europe-wide patent.  Rather, the patentee ends up with a “bundle” of national patents which, though centrally searched and examined by the European Patent Office (EPO), must be validated and enforced in the individual contracting states.  This can lead to high costs at the grant and validation stage and means that the patent must be litigated on a country-by-country basis – leading to more expense and possibly different outcomes in different European countries.  Furthermore EU-wide injunctions are currently not available.

The proposed Unitary Patent System seeks to overcome these hurdles and provide patentees with a single European patent which is valid in 25 countries following the same central examination by the EPO.  The new Unitary Patents Court will have jurisdiction for litigating these new patents and will have the power to grant injunctions effective in all 25 member states.  This new system will be the biggest upheaval in European patent law for 40 years; the presentation will explain the working of the proposed new system in detail, and will explore the advantages and possible drawbacks for patentees.

Dr. Matthew Barton (UK chartered and European patent attorney) graduated with a BSc and PhD in Chemistry, both from the University of Birmingham (UK), in 1998 and 2001 respectively.  Matt joined Forresters, a UK firm of patent and trade mark attorneys, in 2001 and is now a partner in the Chemistry and Life Sciences department.  He lives and works in Munich, Germany, heading up the Munich office of Forresters and dealing regularly with the nearby EPO.  Matt specialises in drafting and prosecuting patent applications at the EPO and the UK patent office (UKIPO) with a focus on the chemical field.  He also frequently handles opposition and appeal proceedings at the EPO and undertakes freedom to operate projects on behalf of his clients.  Matt is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and of FICPI.