Chapter 1: Introduction
Until recently, only scant data were publicly available on the subject of patent litigation in EU member states, and as a result it was difficult to accurately examine how prevalent patent litigation was from state to state, how costly it was and how significant the divergences were between the various systems. However, in recent years a number of major studies – based on analysis of carefully gathered empirical patent case data – have been published. These studies have shed new light on the subject of patent litigation in EU member states, particularly in the major jurisdictions of the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands, where the vast majority of European patent ligation takes place. This leads us to the first rationale for the writing of this book – it is now, for the first time, possible to paint an accurate, detailed picture of the patent litigation system in Europe. The first part of this book aims to paint that picture, setting the scene by analysing and summing up the current state of patent litigation in Europe’s major patent jurisdictions. This brings us to the second rationale for the writing of this book – the need to take account of the seismic shift represented by the coming into force of the EU-driven European patent reform package. On 19 February 2013, the UK and 24 other countries signed an intergovernmental agreement (the Agreement) to create a Unified Patent Court (UPC), which will be a new specialist patents court common to participating states.