News on the Unitary patent
By Ingemar Pongratz
Finally, at last. News on the Unitary patent are available. The process to launch the European Unitary Patent seems to be finally on track. The process has been long and slow due to slow ratification by EU members states and due to events, such as Brexit.
But finally, the EU IPR system will start and will make life easier for European Innovators. Basically, the process will become centralized.
But applicants will still need to consider certain steps.
Currently, the European Patent Office (EPO) includes 39 member states, all EU member states and other countries outside the EU such as Turkey, Serbia etc.
If a submitted patent is granted by EPO, the patent still needs to be registered by the individual patent offices of each state that is part of EPO. This is painfully slow and costly process which involves translation. Depending on the country, the full patent needs to be translated or sometimes certain sections need to be translated.
This is a costly process that take a lot of time and effort.
News on the Unitary patent include the following point. Under the new Unitary Patent Scheme, 25 countries have entered in a Enhanced Cooperation scheme. This means that a patent submitted in any of the 25 countries will be accepted in all 25 countries, thus reducing the administrative burden on innovators specially from small enterprises.
17 countries have ratified the Unitary Patent scheme, and we hope that additional countries will follow soon.
However, there are still considerable gaps. Turkey is a member of the EPO, but has not joined the Unitary Patent scheme, at least not yet.
Spain and the UK are also outside the Unitary Patent scheme. The UK opposes the jurisdiction of the European Patent Court and Spain expressed similar concerns. Poland has also indicated that they will not join the Unitary Patent System.
This means that innovators and inventors still need to register their patents in Turkey, Spain, and the UK separately.
Still, there are considerable benefits and Europe will benefit from reduced administrative and practical issues associated with IPR. This will also simplify for applicants from different European funding sources such as Horizon Europe.
So however, there are risks as well. Today the decision to revoke a national patent only one country. However, under the Unitary Patent System this will affect all members of the Unitary Patent System, which is a drawback.
So as always there are both benefits and drawbacks.
Ingemar Pongratz is founder of Fenix Scientific AB and Pongratz Consulting. In addition, Ingemar Pongratz is founder of Letavis AB a biotech company that develops new, safe and efficient products for the agricultural sector that are currently under commercialisation. Through Pongratz Consulting. We help universities and enterprises to apply for European funding, primarily from Horizon Europe.
If you wish to know more about our help for EU finding or about Letavis please contact us.
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