Creation of a single European patent came to a screeching halt when EU member countries were unable to reach the necessary unanimous agreement during talks held in Brussels earlier this fall. Deadlocked for the past 10 years, the unitary European patent has remained in limbo due primarily to disagreements on which languages would be recognized as an “official” European patent language.
However, the European Commission has recently introduced a plan whereby EU countries could create a single European patent based on the doctrine of “enhanced cooperation”. Under EU rules, “enhanced cooperation” allows a group of countries to pursue a matter lacking unanimous support by asking and receiving support and permission from the Commission. It is expected that the EU Commission will release a more detailed proposal in the next year, which will then need consent by the European Parliament, followed by approval by a qualified majority of the member states.
Under the present proposal, a single patent would be recognized by all countries that had entered into the agreement. In theory, this singular European patent, though effective only in the participating countries, would be cheaper and more efficient than the current EPO process which requires validation and possibly translations into the individual countries.
Applicants stand to benefit greatly from this proposal. Given the high costs of obtaining patent protection in Europe, this proposed single EP patent, though not all-encompassing, signifies a step in reigning in those costs.
In the meantime, inovia can help you reduce the cost of European patent validation. Simply create an account on our client portal, enter your EP number and get an instant quote for validating your patent into the selected countries.