European Commission proposes a single standard patent system to boost research


The European Commission has tabled a package of proposals, under enhanced cooperation, that will radically reduce the cost of patents in Europe by up to 80%. This will allow any company or individual to protect their inventions through a single European patent which is valid in 25 Member States, it said. http://www.iwr.co.uk/stm-and-legal/3010902/European-Commission-proposes-a-single-standard-patent-system-to-boost-research

The European Commission has tabled a package of proposals, under enhanced cooperation, that will radically reduce the cost of patents in Europe by up to 80%. This will allow any company or individual to protect their inventions through a single European patent which is valid in 25 Member States, it said. Under the initiative, now at the stage of draft EU law, a patent will eventually cost €680 – far less than current costs. It aims at encouraging investors and researchers, and strengthen increase the degree of economic integration in Europe. The system will allow the countries to create an environment more favourable to innovation – an essential requirement for sustainable economic growth, according to the EC. As the EU nations laid claims to innovations such as access to the internet through an electric socket and a bicycle with power-assisted steering, they noted that the current procedures to apply for a patent are complicated and expensive. The current European patent system, in particular in the phase after granting a patent, is very expensive and complex. 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. This was widely recognised as a hindrance to innovation in Europe. Internal market and services commissioner, Michel Barnier, said: “The purpose of unitary patent protection is to make innovation cheaper and easier for businesses and inventors everywhere in Europe. “It will mean a big reduction in terms of costs and red tape, and provide a stimulus for European innovation. It will be accessible for all companies in the EU, no matter where they are based. There is no sustainable economic growth without innovation. And no innovation without efficient intellectual property protection.” Once agreed, the standard patent would automatically be valid in the EU countries and help researchers and innovators avoid the need for red tape and expensive translations. The Commission’s proposal for a single EU patent had been under discussion for over a decade but there has been stalemate in the council over language rules. But the new system will allow patent applications to 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. The Commission also added that 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 EC hopes Spain and Italy will eventually decide to join the scheme.

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