Enhanced cooperation for the creation of unitary patent protection

27 January 2011

Plans to use the enhanced co-operation procedure to create a unitary patent system in the EU, as requested by 12 Member States last year, were approved by the Legal Affairs Committee today. The committee gave its consent to the use of enhanced cooperation to create unitary patent protection in a report by Klaus-Heiner Lehne, which was approved by a large majority.

As outlined in the European Parliament press release, the request was by 12 Member States (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK), but other Member States may join the enhanced cooperation at any time. 

The European Parliament as a whole will vote on the proposal during the February Strasbourg session and the Competitiveness Council will examine it on 10 March. If the enhanced cooperation is authorised by both Parliament and the Council, the Commission will present two proposals: 
  • one on the language regime (consultation procedure); and
  • the other establishing the single patent (co-decision procedure).

The IP Federation is putting together a policy paper on some aspects of the procedure.