EU patent system gets final sign-off

EU patent system gets final sign-off


The final piece of a single patent system for the EU was signed into place in Brussels by Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton, cutting the cost of registering patents from €36,000 to €5,000.

For 30 years member states have been battling to reach agreement on having a single patent and those wishing to protect their inventions have had to deal with the rules and courts of the EU countries.

However, the final vestiges of the most serious row — over which language patents needed to be written in — remain in two countries that excluded themselves from the system: Spain and Italy.

From January next, any inventor can apply to a European patent body for a single patent and will be able to defend it in one court thanks to agreement on the Unified Patent Court signed yesterday.

After the signing ceremony, also attended by Research and Innovation Minister Seán Sherlock, Mr Bruton described it as a historic moment. “It paves the way for the implementation of the patents package which will give enterprises greater access to patent protection at European level and make enforcement of patents more affordable,” he said.

The court is the final piece of a package of measures to protect patents across the EU.

Mr Bruton estimated it will save Irish businesses at least €6m a year — the sum that had to be spent on translation costs.

Across the EU, he said, it should save businesses up to €290m a year and encourage far more people to register their innovations.

Mr Sherlock said the new patent system is of particular interest to Ireland where the Government is pushing for companies to increase research and development.

“Enterprises across all business sectors spent some €1.9bn on research and development activities in Ireland in 2011, an increase on the €1.83bn spent in 2010. This is estimated to have risen to almost €2bn in 2012. The continuing development of Ireland as a location for the performance of world class R&D is crucial, as this will allow businesses to build a competitive advantage that will result in jobs and growth,” he said.

(Source:, by Ann Cahill)

People watch

It is lucky for Chen Jun to began his career in the IP industry 14 years ago when the first group of IP managers for businesses appeared on the stage in China and he has been in the industry.

It was this “Whampoa Military Academy” for IP that educated China’s first batch of corporate IP management personnel. Many of these engineers left Foxconn in the years since.