Blog

Renewed impetus for UPP following ECJ decisions

13 May 2015 - No comments »

EPO President Benoît BattistelliLast week, the Court of Justice of the European Union dismissed legal challenges against the Unitary Patent Package. The two Regulations creating the new Unitary Patent and laying down its language regime are not in conflict with European Union law. That is the clear and decisive ruling from the Court of Justice. It confirms the soundness of the EPO legal framework, which provides all conditions and safeguards to ensure the proper administration of the Unitary Patent.

For myself, for the EPO and for innovation in Europe, these decisions are unequivocally welcome. The dismissal of these challenges by the Court has given all those involved with the project a green light to continue with what we have sought to achieve from the outset; a Unitary Patent that reduces both administrative burden and costs for businesses across Europe while increasing legal certainty.

It is also a decision that resonates loudly not just here in Europe but across the world. Our international partners can be reassured about the willingness of Europe to reform itself and improve its environment to support innovation based on solid legal foundations.

On the same day the decision was published, I was delighted to welcome a delegation from the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee to the EPO headquarters in Munich, headed by its Chairman, Pavel Svoboda. We had a fruitful exchange on the current state of the final phase of preparations for UPP. I also met in Brussels the following day with Commissioner Bienkowska in charge of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. The Commission is, like the European Parliament, an essential partner in pushing forward UPP.

Unitary Patent Protection is a project for the businesses, innovators and people of Europe. That’s why last week I also had a meeting with representatives of BusinessEurope and Eurochambres in order to better understand the hopes and concerns of those who will be affected directly by the Unitary Patent.

In all these meetings we were able to discuss the tangible progress that is being made in the establishment of the Unitary Patent and of the Unified Patent Court. I have openly expressed my hope that the Unitary Patent Package will come into operation in the course of 2016 and I remain optimistic about this on the grounds of current progress. Based on proposals from the EPO, work undertaken by the Select Committee has progressed well with the adoption of a comprehensive set of implementing rules which will enable the EPO to successfully carry out the new tasks entrusted to it by Member States.

The Select Committee will now take a decision on the level of the renewal fees, on the basis of a proposal made by the EPO.  It is a sensitive issue but from the very beginning I have been convinced that our first priority must be a Unitary Patent which is attractive to business.

Having carefully listened to all comments and reactions generated by our first proposal, the EPO published on 7 May a new proposal based on an average from the countries where the current European Patent is most registered: either a ‘true Top Four for all patent holders, or a ‘true Top Five’ with reduced tariffs for SMEs.

A political decision is also to be taken on facilitated access for SMEs to efficient patent protection in Europe, as has been the case in the US for decades and in some European countries more recently. I am aware that it is a controversial issue among Member States and that is why the EPO is proposing two options. But above all, these proposals will help to achieve a significant saving for businesses seeking Unitary Patent Protection and are 70% lower than the current cost of a European patent in the 25 Member States.

Benoît Battistelli
President

  • Share this post:

Older posts

Meeting our Global Users


Last week the members of FICPI – Fédération Internationale des Conseils en Propriété Intellectuel, gathered in the stunning city of Cape Town, South Africa, for their World Congress, under the motto “Adapt to Advance”. FICPI has nowadays around 5000 members in more than 80 countries and regions, all of them qualified and experienced IP professionals […]

Patent activities 2014 in a continuous positive trend


Last week in Brussels I presented the EPO’s annual results for 2014 at a well-attended conference with many journalists. For the fifth year in a row our growth continued for patent filings (+3.1% and almost 275 000 filings in 2014), representing a new record and confirming a positive trend (+10 000 patent filings each year […]

EPO Quality Dashboard 2014 – an excellent year


Last year was a milestone for the EPO’s Quality Management System (QMS). It was the culmination of several years of work in a variety of areas – implementing and refining measurements, establishing operational quality controls, documenting procedures and internal auditing of the QMS process. We crowned these efforts at the end of 2014 with the […]

The spirit of Artur Fischer


I first met Artur Fischer during the European Inventor Award ceremony in Berlin in June 2014 when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award. I was most impressed by this extraordinary character – the 95-year-old doyen of inventors, the “man of 1000 patents”, as the German press reverentially refer to him. He invited me to visit his […]

A win-win agreement between the EPO and Morocco


This week we witnessed an historic “first” from the perspective of the European Patent Organisation: the validation agreement with Morocco. Indeed the EPO, starting with 7 member states in 1977, now boasts 38 countries representing a market of 600 million inhabitants. Two other European states, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, have the status of “extension states”: the […]

New peak of patent filings at the EPO in 2014


This week we published our preliminary filing figures for 2014. Although the precise numbers are still being worked on, indications are that we saw over 270 00 filings last year, an increase of approximately 3%. This is in line with the trend observed over the last four years with annual increases between 2% and 4%. […]

2014, another successful year for the EPO


As the year draws to a close, it is time to look back on the achievements of the last twelve months. First, 2014 can be regarded as a very successful year for the EPO, as in many areas we reached our best ever performances. In terms of filings, we expect a 3% – 3.5% increase […]

ISO certification for the EPO’s patent granting process


This week, on behalf of the EPO, I was very pleased to receive the ISO 9001 certificate for our entire patent granting process covering: search and examination; opposition; limitation and revocation. The EPO is the first among the big patent offices to have achieved this internationally recognised standard for its quality management system. Quality is […]

Celebrating 20 years of OHIM


Anniversaries are a good opportunity to reflect on the past, to review achievements and to imagine future improvements. In this regard, I think it is fair to say that the celebrations at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, in Alicante last week, illustrated their impressive results in only two decades. OHIM’s geographical coverage […]