The new patent system will be introduced in Europe in June 2023. It aims to unify the market of innovation and bring a piece of legal certainty when it comes to protecting intellectual rights in different countries of the European Union.
Recent years have revived debatable topics remaining in the single market, addressing advances in technologies. Innovations are the key to the much-needed energy transition and digital transformation of all spheres of the economy.
And yet, as of today, there is no unified patent system in the European zone, and this complicates not only the road to the market but also the process of sharing innovation accomplishments between member countries. The protection of intellectual rights on an invention is one of the most important components of the whole process of scientific development, a guarantee of safe exchange between the actors of the system.
“The patent system, as it stands today, does not fully support the work of the single market”, according to Yann Ménière, the economist of the European Patent Office.
While intellectual property-intensive industries, using patents, copyrights, and trademarks, directly employed more than 61 million people in 2017-2019 and currently represent 17,4% of the EU's GDP.
There are several radical issues. The broader geography of patent protection the innovative company wants – the more costly it will be. Currently, patent validation needs to be carried out in different member states separately. Of course, document collection and process complexity influence the speed with which the invention, whether it's a new technology or product, can make it to the market and reach customers.
Another big issue to address regarding the current patent system is its relationship with trade and the invention process itself. Technology does not evolve locally in a vacuum – international knowledge and goods exchange is necessary for progress. Take Luxembourg for instance, says Mr. Ménière.
Overall, the unified patent code in the European Union will change several important areas, making the innovation market more flexible and efficient.
This is what a unified patent system will bring:
A discussion on current challenges in the field of intellectual property rights protection took place on Tuesday, April 25. The Intellectual Property Day in Luxembourg marked its fifteenth edition. The conference, organized by the Ministry of Economy in cooperation with the Luxembourg Intellectual Property Institute (IPIL GIE), was a platform for many high-profile personalities, including the Luxembourg Minister of Economy Franz Fayot, who gave opening remarks, and Tom Wirion, Head of the Chamber of Trade and Industry.