Spain’s position on the unitary patent
Spain is one of the few European Union states that are not part of the Unitary Patent (UPC) system and have not signed, nor ratified, the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court.
As its name suggests, this agreement has created a Unified Patent Court (UPC), which has the competence to resolve disputes that may arise, inter alia, in relation to European patents with unitary effect.
The difference between a legal action for a European patent with unitary effect and a conventional European patent
The creation of this Unified Patent Court is intended to simplify legal proceedings and save costs. For example, in the case of the registered patents under the current European Patent Convention, if there is a legal action that invalidates the corresponding patent validation, such invalidity has effects only in the territory of the jurisdiction against which the legal action has been brought. On the other hand, if a European patent with unitary effect is affected by an invalidity action or a counterclaim for invalidity, the possible declaration of invalidity of such a patent would have effects in all the States that are part of the UP system and the UPC.
Therefore, the effects of a nullity of a validation of a European patent are smaller in terms of geographical scope (a single state) compared to those associated with the nullity of the European patent with unitary effect declared by the UPC (member states of the UP system and the UPC).
FAPAC control software
ISERN, in order to look after the interests of its clients, has created a specific patent control tool called FAPAC. In this system, both patents under surveillance are entered for notification of payment of annuities, as well as all patents that have been validated in Spain by ISERN.
The main function of FAPAC is to make the annuity payment notice for each file that is entered in its system. The revision of this software is carried out periodically every 6 months.
If ISERN receives instructions to proceed with validation of a patent in Spain, the file is entered into the control system, regardless of whether the order for payment of annuities is received.
In this way, a specific control of the patents is carried out and the notification of the first annuity of each validated patent will be generated. However, if the client indicates that he/she does not want to be notified of the annuities, only the notification of the first annuity of the patents in question is generated. This ensures that all files are monitored and protected in the first year.