After 30 years of discussion, there is finally good news for European Union (EU) inventors interested in obtaining a unitary patent.
This new patent will be less expensive and more effective than current systems in protecting the inventions of individuals and firms. It will also provide automatic unitary patent protection in all 25 participating EU member states. The European Commission’s hope is that when the new system is up to speed, an EU patent may cost only €4,725. This sum is just a fraction of the cost compared to the average of €36,000 required today.
Any inventor will have the opportunity to apply to the European Patent Organisation for an EU unitary patent, which will be valid in all 25 EU member states. Patents will be available in English, French, and German. Interested parties must complete their applications in one of these languages or attach a translation in one of these three languages to their applications.
Renewal-fee levels will consider the special needs of small firms to ensure the firms’ benefits from lower costs.
This international agreement takes effect on January 1, 2014 or after 13 contracting member states ratify it (as long as the United Kingdom, France and Germany are among them).
This article is not considered as legal advice