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European Unitary Patent - The Basics

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European Unitary Patent - The Basics

  1. 1. European Unitary Patent:The BasicsJoseph Lenthall, Mewburn Ellis LLPMay 2013joseph.lenthall@mewburn.com
  2. 2. Background• European patent applications can be applied for andexamined centrally by the European Patent Office(EPO)• European patent applications cover “EPC memberstates” (see next slide)• On grant, EP applications need to converted into abundle of national applications in Europe• The conversion can be costly because the patentmay have to be translated for some countries
  3. 3. EPC memberstatesAll of EU+Iceland, Norway,Switzerland, Turkey,Croatia, Albania,Serbia, Macedonia
  4. 4. EUP: what?• There is new legislation to create a EuropeanUnitary Patent (EUP)• The EUP is a European patent with effect as asingle patent for all the members of the EuropeanUnion (EU) …
  5. 5. EU memberstates
  6. 6. EUP: what?• There is new legislation to create an EuropeanUnitary Patent (EUP)• The EUP is a European patent with effect as asingle patent for all the members of the EuropeanUnion (EU) …• … except for Italy and Spain• Intention: like a US patent covers all US states
  7. 7. EUPregulationEU minus Spainand Italy
  8. 8. EUP: when?• The legislation has now been agreed• It will come into effect only when the relatedagreement on the Unified Patents Court (UPC)comes into effect (see UPC slides)• Earliest possible: 1 January 2014• More likely: during 2015, and perhaps later
  9. 9. EUP: why?• The EU operates as a single market• Patent protection in only some member states of theEU can distort the market• Aims:• increase legal certainty across EU for business• reduce cost for applicants• But can only come into effect when there is a centralcourt to enforce the patent
  10. 10. EUP: how?• European patent applications will be examined andgranted by the EPO, as now• At grant, the patent owner (applicant) must decidewhich countries are wanted, as now• Applicant can choose protection from:• EUP;• “traditional” bundle of national patents originating from theEPO;• national patents; or• a combination of the above (BUT no double patenting).
  11. 11. Translation at grant• At the time of allowance, translation of claims intoFrench and German, as now• After grant, the EUP will be machine translated intoall of the languages of the EU• The EPO has been working with Google to improvequality of machine translations of patents• Thought to reduce average costs at grant from32,000 Euros to 5,000 Euros
  12. 12. Renewal fees• A single renewal fee, payable to the EPO after grant• Level of renewal fee not yet decided• Rumours suggest that the EUP renewal fee may beequivalent to 5-8 national renewal fees• The level of the renewal fee may mean that the EUPis not attractive to some patent owners• Such as those who currently want patent protectionin only a small number of countries, e.g. DE, FR, GB
  13. 13. For more advice,please contact:Joseph Lenthalljoseph.lenthall@mewburn.comBased in Bristol and London, UKMewburn Ellis LLPTel: +44 (0) 117 945 1234Fax: +44 (0) 20 7776 5399

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