Enforcement Of European Patents
European patents are granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) under the legal provisions of the European Patent Convention (EPC). However, European patents are enforced at a national level, i.e. on a per-country basis. Under Article 64(3) EPC, "any infringement of a European patent shall be dealt with by national law," with the European Patent Office having no legal competence to deal with and to decide on patent infringements in the Contracting States to the EPC. A few, limited aspects relating to the infringement of European patents are however prescribed in the EPC.
Proposals have been long discussed to create a true unitary European patent system across Europe and especially across the European Union (EU), i.e. a European patent system wherein the enforcement of European-wide patents would be dealt at a supranational level rather than at a national level. These projects include the European Union patent (formerly named "Community patent") and the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA). The European Union patent is about to come to fruition, whereas the EPLA proposal has been dropped.
The enforcement of European patents is therefore characterized by a fragmented system with "variegated national approaches towards patent-related litigations and (...) the possibility of having opposite decisions (and hence outcome) in case of parallel litigations."
... injunctions covering all EP jurisdictions, but this has been limited by the European Court of Justice. 2006 interpreting Articles 6.1 and 16.4 of the Brussels Convention, the European Court of Justice held that European patents are national rights that ...
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