Here’s a quick “heads up” of what I see as the key reforms of IP laws in the pipeline at the European Union (EU) level that are likely to affect EU regional registrations of IP, as well as the national laws of each and every EU Member State. You will no doubt be reading more about these topics during 2016.
The new EU Unitary Patent (UP) is on the starting blocks: most of the key documents, including secondary rules and regulations for the UP and the associated arrangements for the Unitary Patent Court (UPC), are now agreed. But ratification of the UPC agreement is still awaited from the 13 Member States required, including the UK and Germany (both of whose ratification is mandatory) for it, and so the UP, to come into force. This is expected to occur during 2016 and the hope is that the UP will be up and running by the beginning of 2017. Once that happens, innovators will be able to apply for one patent to cover the whole EU (without the need for converting to individual national registrations).