Unified European Patent System Brings Relief for Pharma Companies
A paradigm shift for the cumbersome lodging of patents in Europe took place yesterday, with the long awaited agreement of a unified patent system for the European Union (EU) finally ratified.
The European Union have voted for a new unified patent strategy across all 27 EU member states which could could cut the costs of EU patents by up to 80% and simlify the process. The European Commission believes that the new system will “stimulate research, development and investment in innovation helping to boost growth in the EU".
The initiative is focused on boosting competitiveness and innovation as it reduces red tape for inventors and brings patent costs in line with other economies like the U.S. and Japan.
Previously pharmaceutical organisations needed to tackle the patent issue in each of the 27 EU member states, a challenging and complex task requiring translation of applications into many languages. After the EU has debated this issue for decades and a lack of consensus reigned across the EU member states, resolution was finally reached by European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, 11th December 2012.
Back in July this year a two-day EU summit was held in Brussels, where leaders agreed on the creation of a European patent scheme. The European Patent Office said then that adoption of the unitary patent "will replace the requirement for national validation procedures with a single step to reduce costs and dramatically simplify the present cumbersome method of obtaining access to patent protection in Europe".
The new system offers pharmaceutical companies the chance to register innovations with one EU authority, significantly cutting costs and time. The new unitary patent will radically reduce, by up to 80 percent, translation and related costs for obtaining patent protection in the EU; meaning a standard approval could potentially reduce from €36,000 to roughly €5,000.
A unified patent-court system is planned for introduction in 2014. This is intended to be set up in Paris, with support services in London and Munich. The Unified Patent Court (UPC) will be created by an international agreement of the Member States and will be “competent to handle disputes concerning both future unitary patents and current classical European patents” explains EU Commissioner Barnier.
However, not everyone is happy; Spain and Italy are opposing the scheme for reasons based on language discrimination as applications can lodge requests in either English, French or German. This will be reviewed by a panel of judges
For pharma organisations involved in patenting in the EU the adoption of a unitary patent is most definitely a welcome change, will reduce costs and significantly simplify the access to European patent protection.
Since you're here...
... and value our content, you should sign-up to our newsletter. Sign up here