New European Patent System: simplification or complication?
After several decades of constant debates concerning the development of European Patent System on 11th December 2012 finally European Parliament adopted the Law which comes into force in 2014. According to the new Law European Union has created a new patent form – EU patent, which differs from European patent. Moreover, both systems will exist and issue patents in parallel. The main advantage of EU patent establishment is the fact that the patent will be automatically valid in 25 EU Member States (except Spain and Italy). Nevertheless European patent will be annulled also automatically. European patent entry into force requires carrying out national extension procedures in each particular country where the patent is sought as well as the translation of the patent into the national language. In addition, European patent system was adopted not only in EU states but also in other European countries such as Albania, Serbia, and Turkey.
Current European patent system has simplified the procedures, but it still requires individual applications to be filled in national language of each concerned. Fees for national application and translation are about 80-90% of the total cost associated with the issuing of European patent protection. In general these costs exceed 50 000 LT or even 100 000 LT in exceptional cases. This is the major reason why European patent system was both unattractive and unavailable for inventors, especially for natural persons and small businesses.
In the name of efficiency EU refuses the patent system multiculturalism. EU patent application and procedures will be conducted only in three languages: English, German, and French. No translation into other languages is foreseen. The Law has fixed the unified patent fee whilst European patent system fees were paid separately in each country where patent was extended). One of the main innovations is the establishment of the European Community Patents Court, which will operate in three places – Paris, Munich, and London. No longer will national courts be able to try EU patent cases.
Spain and Italy objected the EU patent system language restrictions. In particular, Spain has opposed actively the idea that the Spanish language is not one of the languages of the EU patent application procedure. Critics of the EU patent system say that this system is intended to encourage small European communities to withdraw out of the other aspects of EU affairs.
The goal of creation of EU patent system is to simplify the application process and to reduce fee rates. Preliminary EU patent cost will comprise around 16 000 LT. Among the main achievements of the Law are release from national procedures and translations, simplification and unification of legal protection, and fee rates deduction. On the other hand, patent information is no longer available in the national language. The establishment of the European Community Patents Court eliminates the separate national judicial procedures in order to defend the breach of patent rights more effectively. Nevertheless the process of Patents Court will undoubtedly be several times more expensive.