European patent with unitary effect
Reduction of the high costs relating to patents valid throughout the EU?
Written by Helena Olsson
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Thesis: Comparison of national patents and European patents European patents were created to improve the patent system. To a certain extent, it is an improvement on national patents. However, it is still not a perfect solution to the problem of high cost of effective patents throughout the EU. By providing European patents, the patent system simplifies the process of obtaining patents in more than one country at the same time. By establishing EPO through EPC, contracting states make it easier for patentees to apply for patents. The patentee can apply directly to the European Patent Office and specify several countries in the application, instead of applying for a patent in each country where the patentee seeks protection like a national patent. Since European patents are a collection of national patents with the same effect and the same conditions as any national patents granted in each country, up to 38 different countries, the system is still complicated in granting patents. Because the patent legislation of each country may be very different. The cost of renewal and the period for which renewal fees must be paid vary greatly from state to state. This is a problem for patentees, which makes it challenging to maintain European patents in multiple countries. In terms of the cost of applying for patents, European patents have been greatly improved. However, patentees need to designate three or more countries to obtain European patents that are cheaper than national patents. If the patentee applies for a European patent and designates all member states instead of applying for national patents in all member states, the fee will be reduced by approximately SEK 1,400,000. 77 But the only fees included in this comparison are application fees, grant fees, and application renewal fees. However, since the European Patent Office requires translation of patents, and most contracting states require European patents to be verified, the cost of obtaining patents is still high. One problem with European patents is that the patent has no autonomy, but is governed by different national legislations in different countries. This creates uncertainty in predicting the outcome of European patent conflicts. In one country, conflict may result in infringement, while conflict in another country will not cause infringement of the same invention. Patent holders involved in European patent conflicts usually need to seek legal help, which can be very expensive, especially if help is needed in several countries regarding the same patent and the same conflict. When it comes to the free movement of goods, the problem still exists. 3.4 Comparison of European patents and Community patents One of the main differences between European patents and Community patents is the nature of Community patents. Regarding European patents, since patents are classified as national patents in the post-grant stage, the borders still exist, but because Community patents have the same effect in the territory of the entire member states, there is no internal border market. This will help ensure that no patents conflict with the free flow of goods. Another feature that distinguishes Community patents from European patents is that Community patents will have autonomy. Community patents are not subject to any national laws, but only subject to EPC and CPC. Compared with the European patent, this is an improvement in two aspects. It is easier for patentees to maintain patents because the system is less complicated and there are not so many different rules and legislations to track. Due to the combination of the same effect and autonomy of community patents, it is no longer necessary to go through multiple litigation procedures for the same patent. One court ruling is sufficient, which will also make it easier to predict the outcome of conflicts related to Community patents. Although there are no exact figures on the cost of Community patents, it is easy to assume, and it is very likely that the cost of Community patents will be lower than the cost of European patents. This is because there is no need for a verification process or translation into every official language of the EEC. However, since the same translation requirements of the European Patent Office apply to Community patents and European patents, the cost is still high. One of the main reasons why member states failed to reach agreement on the Community patent proposal was the issue of translation arrangements. Today's system is an expensive system, and the main part of the high cost is the translation cost, which is required by both the European Patent Office and the member states. According to the European Commission, almost 70% of the total cost of European patents in force in the 13 member states is translation costs. 103 The procedures for the entry into force of patents have been explained. 104 Although the system is still in use, the EPC contracting states tried in 2000 to reduce translation costs through the so-called London Agreement105. The London Agreement is a voluntary system, so there are differences in the translation provisions of the member states. 106 The agreement came into effect in 2008, when France signed the agreement, if the designated country applies for a European patent. Read Less