The Cost Of Obtaining Patent Protection In Europe Seems Set To Reduce Significantly Next Year
In September this year, a bill was passed by the lower house of the French parliament that has the potential to reduce dramatically the cost of obtaining patent protection in Europe. The bill is now to be considered by the French Senate in October and, if approved, it may become law early in 2008. As a result, the cost associated with preparation of translations of a patent may be reduced by as much as 45%.
At present, when European patents are granted, patent-holders must provide, at their cost, translations of the patents into the national language of each country in which patent protection is desired. Where protection is desired in all states, the European Patent Office (EPO) estimates the cost of translating a patent of average length into the necessary languages to be greater than AU$50,000. A typical patent is usually only made available in five languages, which the EPO estimates involves a cost of about AU$11,500.
In view of these costs, an agreement was signed in London in October 2000 by a number of countries. Under this Agreement, many translations will no longer be required. However, the Agreement cannot become active until it is ratified by the French parliament. The presentation of this bill is a significant step towards that ratification, and the EPO has indicated that it expects the Agreement to become active by mid-2008.
The EPO estimates that the translation cost associated with a typical case will then fall from around AU$11,500 to around AU$6,000. As more countries sign up to the Agreement, obtaining protection in more countries in Europe will be possible without incurring the substantial translation costs presently applicable.
Given the significance of this issue, we shall continue to monitor the progress of the bill and advise our clients in connection with their specific matters, and how they might best take advantage of this development.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
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