EU-wide unitary patent rules approved by the European Parliament

The European Parliament has at December 17th, 2012  approved the so-called “EU patent package” (unitary patent, language regime and unified patent court).
Some formalities remain, but the path is clear for the system to come into effect on 1 January 2014.
According to the new regulation  the inventors across the European Union will soon be able to get a unitary patent. After long talks of over 30 years, a new regime will cut the cost of an EU patent by up to 80% This will make European patent  more competitive compared to the US and Japan.

The European parliaments vote  is good news for EU economy and especially for European small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The new  unitary European patent will be cheaper and more effective than current systems in protecting the inventions of individuals and firms. Applications for the new European patent  will have to be made in English, German or French. If made in another language, they will have to be accompanied by a translation into one of these three languages.
Any inventor will be able to apply to the European Patent Organisation (EPO) for an EU unitary patent valid in all 25 EU member states taking part. Renewal fees will be set at a level that takes account of the special needs of small firms, so that they can benefit fully from lower costs.  

The reduction in costs will come as a result of a new language regime and a unified legal structure. At present, a patent granted by the European Patent Office in Munich must be translated into the language of every country in which it is to be registered. From 2014, patents in English, French or German, will automatically be valid in all the 25 countries that have signed up to the system. The commission will bear the costs of translating patents from other EU languages into English, French or German on behalf of SMEs (small and medium enterprises), universities and publicly-funded research institutes.
Meanwhile, the unified legal system will make it easier and cheaper to defend or contest patents. Under the current law this must be done country by country, but when the single patent comes into force all cases will go to the Court of First Instance (‘Tribunal d'instance’) in Paris, France. This will have subsidiary courts in London and Munich specialising in patents involving chemistry and life sciences, and engineering and physical sciences respectively.  
All appeals will be heard by the Court of Justice of the EU
The international agreement creating a unified patent court will enter into force on 1 January 2014 or after thirteen contracting states ratify it, provided that UK, France and Germany are among them.   Outside the new regime currently remain Spain and Italy, but they could decide to join in at any time.