Today, the European Parliament approved a patent package that includes a unitary patent, a language regime, and a unified patent court. The unitary patent would give protection in 25 EP member states. The application would be in English, French, German, or require translation into one of these languages. The unified patent would be enforced in one of a set of trial courts. This patent package would enter into force on January 1, 2014 or after the United Kingdom, Germany, and France and ten other countries ratify the package, whichever is latest. It's hard to predict if this package will be ratified given Europe's debate on this topic for over 30 years. However, if it's ratified, it's expected to reduce the large cost of patent protection in Europe up to 80%. Spain and Italy are outside this regime but may join later.
See the EP press release: Parliament approves EU unitary patent rules
See ars technica: After decades of discussion, EU votes for unified patent system
See NY Times: Europe Reaches Agreement on System for Patents
Copyright © 2012 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.