A couple of unitary patent snippets today comprising news of Judgment Day in the CJEU for Spain and a confusing European Commission communication.
In a day that is fast taking on some significance* for the unitary patent system, May 5th will see the CJEU hand down its judgments on the two Spanish actions C-146/13 and C-147/13. (*The Preparatory Committee is meeting on the same day and may approve both the European Patent Litigators Certificate and the consultation on court fees.)
The European Commission published a piece on the unitary patent last week – “The Unitary Patent package – better protection for European innovators.” The article was relatively short but still managed to raise IPcopy’s eyebrows a few times. The following statement was, to our mind, the worst offender within the article:
Uniform protection for the covered invention will be provided across all 25 countries and the cost of administration – a single payable fee – will be € 5 000.
Such a short statement and yet so many questions! What is meant by “the cost of administration”? What “single” fee is being referred to here? Where did the € 5 000 amount come from?
We tweeted a question to both the EPO and the Twitter account for the European Commission (Internal market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) for clarification of this statement but, as yet, no reply……
We’ll update you if we hear anything but we’re not holding our breath!
Mark Richardson 20 April 2015
In the EU Commission text there is another strange comment:
“Innovators wishing to apply for a patent in Europe …, or a “European patent”, which nevertheless has to be applied in each Member State separately – at a high cost.”
It is a simplification of the real situation.
At an average, applicants validate in 4-5 countries, the most common are GB DE FR ES IT.
• it is free of charge to get your EP validated in the three first (GB DE FR)
• Spain and Italy will not participate in the Unitary Patent meaning that the cost will be the same with or without the Unitary Patent.
• It means that it will all boil down to the annual fees: if the annual fee for the Unitary Patent will be higher (and it will most probably be) than the sum of the annual fees in GB DE FR, then the Unitary Patent will be a more costly system than today’s system with validations.
The Commission text seems to be a continuation of the “Fee saving myth” that we’ve talked about on IPcopy before. It’s frustrating when the new system is presented in this light as it just makes it more difficult to explain to users. And when a press release is so confusing over the costs (5000 Euros) that it’s not readily apparent to an EPA what’s being discussed, then that’s really poor!
This is just a press release probably written by a trainee and certainly not reviewed by a specialist (or if it was reviewed, they published the draft, not the final version).