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EU Patent could be implemented by 2017 – Seán Kelly MEP

Published: Mon, 24 August 2015

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Seán Kelly MEP has welcomed progress on the introduction of an EU-wide patent which will make it easier and cheaper for entrepreneurs and inventors to patent their ideas when it is implemented, possibly by 2017.

“An agreement to introduce a Unitary Patent across 25 EU countries, including Ireland, was reached some time ago, after 30 years of disagreement. To implement the EU patent, the agreement must be formally ratified at national level by 13 countries – three of which must be Germany, the UK and France. France has already ratified the patent, Germany has announced that it will begin the parliamentary ratification process after the summer recess while the UK ratification should be complete by mid-2016,” Mr Kelly said.

The Fine Gael MEP estimates that the ratification process could be concluded in 2016, while it’s hoped that the EU wide patent will be implemented by 2017.
“An EU patent will reduce the cost of a patent by 80%, while the establishment of a Unified Patent Court will enable companies and inventors to settle legal disputes more effectively and at a much lower cost of legal fees by eliminating multi-country litigation,” Mr Kelly said.

In 2011, 224,000 patents were granted in the United States, 172,000 in China while in Europe only 62,000 European patents were delivered. One reason for the difference is the prohibitive cost and complexity of obtaining patent protection throughout the EU’s single market. At present, someone seeking to obtain EU-wide protection for their invention has to validate European patents in all 28 Member States.

The patent holder may become involved in multiple litigation cases in different countries on the same dispute. But this will change in the near future thanks to the agreement on the unitary patent package.

“I have been campaigning in favour of a unitary patent for years now. We need to pull down the barriers to entrepreneurship and a single European patent is one obvious way to do this,” added Mr Kelly.

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