If you’re considering getting a patent in the EU – hang on for a bit until the uniform EU patent is put into place. At the moment, getting your product patented in each EU state individually is both an incredible hassle and an incredible expense. Marc Dulst, for instance, who is a Belgian inventor of a wine protecting gadget, spent €33,000 getting his product patented in 13 of the EU member states. If he were to pursue a patent across the rest of the 14 states, it would drive his final costs to €45,000.
Dulst explained the frustration for small businesses working on patents. As he said, “It is really complicated for small companies. If you are big and you have somebody working on just that, it’s ok. But if you are small, it means high costs plus lots of wasted time which could be used for more important things.”
Finally, however, it looks like the decades-long gridlock over creating a uniform patent may be coming to an end. The European Commission has created a proposal for a single European patent. Only Spain and Italy are frustrated by the plan, since the patent would only be translated into English, German and French.
New Rules for Patents
As the proposed rules explain, a company’s invention would be protected by one patent (except for in Spain and Italy) and it won’t need validation in each individual country. The proposal still needs to be agreed upon by parliament and member states.
The inventor can file for the patent in any language his chooses and he can then make one additional translation if that language isn’t English, French of German.
Hopefully, the single patent rules will go into effect next year. Dulst, for one, says it can’t come soon enough. As he explained, “I really hope for the future, for European young inventors and people who want to move something in Europe, that they do it really fast because we are losing time and money compared to Asia and the United States.”