At a signing ceremony in Brussels today, ministers from 24 EU member states have signed an international agreement on the Unified Patent Court to pave the way for inventors to register and protect their patents in the EU under one unitary patent system.
Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, signed the Unified Patent Court Agreement along with ministers from 23 other member states at the first meeting of the European Competitiveness Council to take place during the Irish Presidency of the EU.
The agreement is the last part of a package of measures that will aim to provide a one-stop-shop for enterprises to register and protect their patents in the EU.
According to European Commission estimates, the new unified patent system has the scope to save businesses between €150m and €290m annually.
The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation estimates that Irish businesses seeking patent coverage in Europe will save up to €6m each year on patent translation costs alone.
Speaking from Brussels today, Bruton described the signing of the Unified Patent Court as an "historic moment".
"It paves the way for the implementation of the patents package, which will give enterprises greater access to patent protection at European level, and make enforcement of patents more affordable," he said.
Bruton added how the agreement was also a milestone in the continued development of the single market.
"When the full patents package is implemented, it will mean that European enterprises will, on the basis of a single application, be able to obtain a patent that has effect in the majority of member states of the EU and have access to a common litigation system to process any actions for infringement or invalidation of that patent," he said.