The EPO Economic and Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB) has issued a statement on the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court. The Board’s opinion is based on an economic analysis that it commissioned and the views of workshop participants. The Board, agreeing with those participants that there is “reason for both optimism and concern”, described some significant benefits. Those include: administrative simplification of patenting in Europe and associated potential cost-savings; avoiding multiple patent litigation in different jurisdictions and reducing the high cost of enforcement across the EU; and the fact that cases are likely to be heard by highly qualified judges and dealt with quickly and effectively. The Board noted, however, that views of the system will depend on the level of the renewal fees and the costs of litigation, and the economic study confirmed that take-up clearly depends on the renewal fees. The Board pointed out that the unitary patent makes the overall patent system more complex by adding another tier, but suggested that pricing incentives could be used make certain tiers more attractive. A concern of workshop participants was how the UPC will function (e.g. would that be more like UK national courts or German national courts?), and some were concerned about patent trolls extending their activities from the US into Europe.
Statement by the ESAB on the unitary patent and the Unified Patent, 30 April 2014 – HERE
Economic analysis of the unitary patent and the UPC, by Europe Economics, April 2014 – HERE
Report of workshops on the unitary patent and the UPC, Munich, 3-4 December 2013 – HERE