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Why Malta could inadvertently block your unitary patent

MaltaYou may have noticed that over here at IPCopy, we’ve been playing with the Unitary Patent Regulation, and testing it to its limits. We’ve already noted some quirks, including the fact that a patentee could potentially opt out of the unified patent court until 2047, and that if an infringement action is brought by an exclusive licensee, bifurcation is all but forced on the defendant.

But this is perhaps the one that’s baked IPCopy’s collective noodle the most so far: assuming that ratification (of the unified patent court agreement) proceeds in time for the Unitary Patent Regulation to come into force 1 January 2014, it appears to us that around one third of the patents that grant that year, and potentially even as many as half, will not actually be eligible for unitary patent protection*.

“How can this be?” I hear you cry! Well it’s all Malta’s “fault”, and here’s why… [we cannot help but think we’ve missed something in the analysis below so feel free to chip in with your thoughts in the comments section!]

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