By Ariane Poulain
Over the past few weeks, there have been positive developments concerning European patent systems. Initiatives which support the completion of the Single Market and advance – rather than hinder – innovation, growth, and jobs are definitely to be welcomed.
The current patent system in Europe is highly complex, costly and inefficient. Whilst the intergovernmental organisation, the European Patent Office (EPO), provides a single procedure for granting patents in 38 European (EU member states and eleven non-EU) countries, this procedure does not supersede national legislatures. For example, the EPO grants patents in English, French and German but in many cases nations require further patent translations in their own language. The EPO does not have the power to enforce patents across all member countries because a uniform European patent system does not exist. As a result, to patent an innovation throughout the EU the innovation must also (or instead) be validated according to national policy. The business or innovator can opt to apply for a patent via a national system or through the EPO. Read full article »