"Efforts to create a common patent applicable across all European countries have been made since the 1960s.
In April 2011, the European Commission tabled proposals on the creation of a European patent with unitary effect (or "unitary patent") in the framework of enhanced cooperation. The unitary patent will allow patent protection to be obtained for 25 Member States (all Member States except Italy and Spain) on the basis of a single application and without further administrative formalities, like validation and translation requirements, in the Member States. It will give inventors and companies access to the markets of 25 countries, i.e. 400 million customers at a vastly lower cost, with far fewer administrative hurdles to overcome.
The Unified Patent Court (UPC) will be created by an international agreement of the Member States and will be competent to handle disputes concerning both future unitary patents and current "classical" European patents. The UPC will be a single specialised patent court, with local and regional presence around the EU. Instead of parallel litigation in national courts, the parties will be able to get a swift and high quality decision for all states where the patent is valid.
The agreement by the Council and European Parliament opens the way to the signature of the international agreement on the UPC. The first unitary patents could be granted in April 2014." SHOTLIST