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Cheaper EU patent protection, but at a cost?

17 December 2010

National validation and translation costs currently make the cost of obtaining a patent in Europe around ten times as expensive as obtaining a patent in the USA. In the absence of agreement on proposals for a single EU patent, and in a bid to make the application process cheaper, the European Commission this week presented a proposal for ‘enhanced cooperation’ between some member states. Under the proposal, EU applicants not using English, French or German as their home language can file applications in any other official language of the EU, with the applicant then being reimbursed for the cost of translation into English, French or German. Applicant’s inventions would be protected in all countries participating in the scheme.

Whilst enhanced cooperation may go someway towards reducing costs of applying for patent protection in the EU, this halfway-house measure is likely to detract from the ultimate aim for a fully single European patent.

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