UNIFIED - From local diversity to transnational institutionalization: The emergence of the European Unified Patent Court
Although the European patent was established in 1973 to protect intellectual property across the European Union, to date there is still no unitary jurisdiction to litigate and enforce IP rights at European scale. UNIFIED focuses on the current process of institutional convergence between nationally fragmented IP regimes and the emergence of a genuine transnational institution: the Unified Patent Court. The project compares the two leading continental European IP regimes to answer two research questions: How do judicial beliefs in and interpretations of legal norms vary across the regional and national jurisdictions of France and Germany, and how do these beliefs and interpretations eventually converge to manifest a unitary jurisdiction? UNIFIED pioneers a neo-structural theory of institutionalization that integrates institutional and network approaches to account for the relational mechanisms that harmonize and enforce judicial beliefs, interpretations and practices.
UNIFIED is in a unique historical position to study the emergence of the Unified Patent Court as an in-vivo case of convergence from a geographically fragmented variety in judicial institutions. UNIFIED will collect original primary data, both substantive and relational, on an elite judicial field in Europe, and it will contribute to a better understanding of how transnational institutions emerge, in the process, from the origin of interregional judicial diversity.