Patents: 25 for the price of 4!

Unitary patents are being set up: at the end of June, the EPO set the amount of applicable renewal fees. For the 25 EU member states they will represent the equivalent of the fees paid in the four countries most often requested today.

Up to now, European patents, after grant by the EPO, must be validated in each country for which patent protection is sought, which results in significant administrative and financial overheads for companies. Currently these are protected in three to four countries and remain vulnerable in other EU states. Hence the idea of a unitary patent which has been worked on for 40 years but which is now reaching a finishing stage. 

At the end of June, the European Patent Office (EPO) proposal for the renewal fees applicable to the unitary patent was accepted. The fees, which cover the territory of 25 EU unitary member states, correspond to the annual amount of fees due for the four countries in which European patents are most often validated today (Germany, France, UK and the Netherlands).

Over the average lifetime of a patent, that is ten years, the cost of renewing a unitary patent will be less than EUR 5,000 for protection in the 25 countries (cost of EUR 35,500 over 20 years). This figure can be compared with the EUR 29,500 of the current system (EUR 159,000 over 20 years).

The new scale is therefore an advantage, especially as other transaction costs will also be reduced (filing fees that have to be paid in each country, translation costs, etc.).


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