In Europe there are two patent systems national patents under national law and a European patent system under the European patent convention, neither based on European Union legislation. The problems with the two systems are the high costs for obtaining and maintaining patents. The systems are also complex since there is no or little harmonization between the Member States’ legislation relating to patents.
Since the early 1970s the Commission has been trying to introduce a Community patent which would have equal effect throughout the territories of the Member States. However, there has been no success and because of that twelve Member States initiated enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection. In March 2011, enhanced cooperation was authorized by the Council and the Commission submitted two separate Regulation proposals regarding enhanced cooperation and translation arrangements.
The proposed Regulations are an attempt by the Member States to make the patent system easier to access, to lower the costs for obtaining and maintaining the patent and making the system legally secure. The proposed Regulations are also a means to improve the situation on the internal market and increase the competition level, by giving the patent a unitary character.
If the EU patent fails there is an alternative solution to the problem with high costs; mutual recognition of national patents. This would mean no translation costs and costs for application and renewal of patents would be lowered, compared to the existing systems. However, if the EU patent becomes reality it is the most suitable solution to the problem with high costs as it also solves a lot of the complexity of the existing systems.
2011. , 57 p.