A patent is a legal title that can be granted for any invention having a technical character provided that it is new, involves an inventive step and is susceptible of industrial application. A patent gives the owner the right to prevent others from making, using or selling the invention without permission.
At the request of 12 Member States, the Commission proposed to launch enhanced cooperation in the area of unitary patent protection on December 14, 2010. Following the Commission's decision, another 13 Member States submitted their request to join the enhanced cooperation. The European Parliament gave its consent on February 15 and on March 10, 2011, the Competitiveness Council authorised the launch of enhanced cooperation with the participation of 25 Member States. In 2012 Member States and the European Parliament agreed on the “patent package” – a legislative initiative consisting of two Regulations and an international Agreement, laying grounds for the creation of unitary patent protection in the EU. The patent package implements enhanced cooperation between 25 Member States (all Member States except Italy and Spain). Following the adoption of the two Regulations in December 2012, the contracting Member States will proceed with the signature and ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court – the third and last component of the “patent package” setting up a single and specialised patent jurisdiction.
The implementation of the authorising Council decision requires the adoption of two regulations; one on the creation of unitary patent protection and a second on the applicable translation arrangements.