A new study concerning the Unitary Patent published by the EPO

A study published on 14 November 2017 by the EPO finds that the Unitary Patent could significantly enhance technology transfer in the EU through more trade and foreign direct investment (FDI). The study "Patents, Trade and FDI in the European Union" was carried out by a team of economists from the EPO, the University of Colorado Boulder and the London School of Economics and focuses on high-tech manufacturing industries, including ICT, chemicals and medical devices, which make intensive use of intellectual property rights. It shows that, while patents already have a positive effect on trade and FDI in Europe, their impact is currently hindered by the lack of truly barrier-free EU-wide patent protection.

The study provides evidence of the benefits of patent protection for the European economy. According to the EPO President Benoît Battistelli, "The Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, which are expected to be implemented soon, will be a vital step towards the realisation of an EU single market for technology, and will support productivity growth and economic development in Europe." The Unitary Patent will address several shortcomings of the current patent regime, and is thus expected to facilitate technology transfer through trade and FDI within the EU, especially in countries that are currently less attractive for patent owners. By cutting the overall costs by 70%, the Unitary Patent will facilitate the access to the European market of innovation and technology for SMEs, universities and research centres in particular.

Access the study by clicking here.


The European IPR Helpdesk is looking for case studies: tell us about your IP success story

Would you like your IP success story to be known by thousands of people around Europe?

What about becoming a source of inspiration to SMEs, institutions and researchers?


Then, tell your story as one of the European IPR Helpdesk's case studies and we will spread your success all around Europe!

Case studies are part of the range of publications developed by the European IPR Helpdesk in order to increase awareness of IP. Case studies contain concrete examples on how SMEs, institutions or academics use IP to achieve business success.

The European IPR Helpdesk disseminates case studies free of charge to an audience of more than 13,000 people through its website and through its newsletters, with around 8,000 subscribers.

Check our library if you would like to find out more about our case studies and contact the European IPR Helpdesk's IP advisors, Alejandra Aluja (alejandra.aluja@iprhelpdesk.eu) and Paula Barnola (paula.barnola@iprhelpdesk.eu), if you would like your case study published by the European IPR Helpdesk.

We are looking forward to hearing about your success story!

EPO study: Patents, trade and foreign direct investment in the European Union

The European Patent Office (EPO) has published a study which assesses the impact of the European patent system on the circulation of technologies through trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) in the European Single Market. Industries with above-average use of intellectual property (IP), especially patents, are already known to make a greater contribution to GDP and external trade. This study shows that further improvement is however possible. Under the current patent system, which is fragmented post-grant, limitations are found to hinder cross-border trade and investment in IP- and technology-intensive industries. The Unitary Patent will remove many of these limitations, and it is thus expected to facilitate technology transfer through trade and FDI within the EU, thereby supporting productivity growth and economic development.

Read more here


Revised Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority

The Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority have been amended.

These Guidelines give instructions on the practice and procedure to be followed in various aspects of the handling of international applications before the EPO as International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority.

In the November 2017 edition, amendments have been made in all parts. The major change is the expansion of Part A, which now includes a comprehensive chapter on fees.

Learn more about the only valid official version of these Guidelines on EPO's website, here.


Tecnalia wins the European Innovation Award

Tecnalia, a technological research and development centre, has received the highest award in the field of European innovation for its development of a failure prediction system for Industry 4.0 patented by NEM Solutions. The European Innovation Award was jointly granted to TECNALIA and NEM Solutions by EARTO, the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations, for the “Impact Delivered” category which rewards the best technology transfer practice.

Find out more here

Public consultation on SPCs and patent research exemptions

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on the supplementary protection certificate (SPC) and the patent research exemption of SPCs. Citizens and stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on their experience and knowledge, which the Commission will analyse to evaluate the relevant legislation in force, as well as to assess the impact of any potential modification of the SPC and patent exemption framework in the EU. 

Find out more about how to submit your contribution here


EPO launches a selection of SME case studies!

Best practices for European SMEs to get the most out of patents

In a highly competitive business environment, Europe’s SMEs need to remain agile and responsive to market conditions. One way of doing this is to invest into R&D and build as well as maintain a strong intellectual property portfolio. But developing and fine-tuning IP strategies is not always easy, particularly for smaller entities, which often have limited resources.

A new publication by the European Patent Office provides concrete examples of how small businesses can use IP to their advantage. It not only illustrates the variety of approaches to using IP and their many advantages, but each study also contains a list of specific recommendations.

What you can learn from the 12 case studies:

-       how to align IP strategy to real business needs

-       the benefits of involving multiple company departments and external expertise in IP strategy definition

-       how to collaborate with universities and research organisations in early-stage research

-       why to make use of free patent information databases to conduct in-depth prior art searches early in the creative process

         before research begins

-       benefits of a strong IP portfolio  to attract investments

-       how to create strategic partnerships with global leaders and ensure a strong and steady market position with the help of

         own patents.

The publication also highlights the benefits that SMEs might expect from the planned Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court. These include savings in time and money, as well as greater legal certainty across the EU market.

We hope this publication will be useful for small and medium-sized companies and their advisors as they can benefit from the experiences and good practices described in the case studies to support their own development and growth.

You can download the studies here: epo.org/sme and please don’t forget to spread the word to anyone that might benefit from them as well.


WIPO Translate

WIPO’s ground-breaking "artificial intelligence"-based translation tool for patent documents is now available in ten languages, marking an important expansion of the highest-quality service yet available for accessing information on new technologies.

Try the new version of the instant translation tool, launched in 2016, here.


SME case studies

The European Patent Office (EPO), in close collaboration with renowned IP experts, has published a set of twelve case studies on a range of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across Europe.

The studies show how companies can proactively adapt their IP strategy to real business needs, and illustrate the variety of approaches to and advantages of using IP. They also highlight the benefits that SMEs can expect from the planned Unitary Patent. This reform will offer businesses a simpler alternative to the existing system, and introduce a more cost-effective route to broad and uniform patent protection and dispute resolution throughout the participating EU member states.

For further information on this publication and to download the case studies, visit the EPO's website here.