The new EU Patent that is currently being debated within the European Union is completely different from the existing European patents, which are granted under the European Patent Convention (EPC).
European patents, once granted, become a bundle of nationally enforceable patents, in the designated states. Enforcement must be carried out through national courts in individual countries and revocation cannot be accomplished centrally once the nine-month opposition period has expired. Current procedures to apply for a patent are complicated and expensive. Once granted by the European Patent Office (EPO), patents have to be validated by every EU country where the inventor wishes to have protection. Apart from the administrative formalities, this procedure involves considerable expenses for translation. To protect an invention throughout the EU, a company has to pay up to € 32.000, as opposed to € 1.850 on average in the US.
25 of 27 EU countries (only Spain and Italy object) are working to create a standard EU patent that will be both simple and affordable. The new EU agreement is intended to provide a patent right that is consistent across Europe. Under the new system, a patent will eventually cost € 680 – far less than it does currently. The initiative is now at the stage of draft EU law.
Specifically, the new law proposed by the Commission would have the following effects:
• Once agreed, the standard patent would automatically be valid in the 25 EU countries, avoiding the need for red tape and expensive translations.
• Patent applications could be made in any language. While they would always have to be available in one of the EPO’s working languages (English, French or German), any translation costs to the patent holder would be reimbursed.
• Until the system could offer automatic translation, temporary rules would apply regarding additional translations.
The draft EU laws have been submitted to the EU Council and European Parliament for comment, and the Commission hopes Spain and Italy will eventually decide to join the proposal.
Do you consider the new EU Patent to be necessary and useful?