After almost 40 years of debate and diplomacy, a historic agreement to establish a single, harmonised European patent system has been achieved.
The European Parliament and Council of the European Union have reached a compromise on the issue of a single European Patent. The new single European Patent will be introduced on 01 January 2014 and will remove the need to apply for a patent in every Member State and instead will allow for the validity of a patent in 25 of the 27 Member States (all Member States except for Spain and Italy).
Both MEPs and the commission have positioned the deal as an important plank in the single European market and as a sign of their commitment to help small technology-based companies. ‘Instead of paying millions to patent attorneys, to translators and in administrative fees, Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises will instead be able to use the money to develop their products.’ said Cecilia Wikstrom, MEP of Sweden’s Folkpartiet
Agreement on this patent has taken a long time to reach due to long standing disagreements over the official language of the patent. It was finally decided that the single patent will be available in French, German and English.
European inventors will as of 1 January 2014 be able to apply for the patent to the European Patent Organisation (EPO) for an EU unitary patent valid in all 25 Member States. The new system will provide inventors an automatic unitary patent protection, reducing the price of the whole process by 87% from €36,000 as it is today to €4,725 with the new system.