Single EU patent saves entrepreneurs time and money

EU competition ministers have decided to introduce a single EU patent to provide entrepreneurs with a simpler and more economical way of protecting their ideas. The unitary patent will be effective in 25 of the 27 Member States and will reduce costs by 90%.

"Applying for a patent today in Europe is great for lawyers, but a headache for entrepreneurs", stated Minister Kamp of Economic Affairs. "The fact that this will soon be made simpler and cheaper is good news for innovative businesses, and will provide a much needed boost to the European economy in these challenging times."

Patent application costs

Applying for a patent in the EU now costs at least €20,000. This is partly because patents have to be prepared in many different languages. Soon, the only languages required will be French, German and English.

Central Patent Court

The high costs are also due to patent applications being filed separately in each Member State, and different statutory rules also therefore apply. Soon, judges will be able to reach decisions based on a single patent law that will apply to all Member States. A central patent court will also be introduced to settle disputes between companies.

End of the discussion

The agreement marks the end of a long discussion about the single European patent. The only countries that will not participate are Spain and Italy. The agreement is very important for the Netherlands as it has the fourth highest number of patent applications in the EU, and the ninth highest in the world. The Dutch company Philips is ranked ninth in the world in terms of patents filed.