[REPONSE] Parlement européen, Question n°E-005520/2020 avec demande de réponse écrite à la Commission de Salvatore De Meo (PPE) du 7 octobre 2020 - Procédure du brevet unitaire européen (Réponse publiée le 04/02/2021)

Niveau juridique : Union européenne

Texte de la question :

« The European Patent Office (EPO) grants European patents to the 38 contracting states to the European Patent Convention (EPC).

In order to take effect in the territory of a contracting state to the Convention, the European patent must be validated in each contracting state in which the patent proprietor wishes to obtain protection. This means paying not only the relevant fees charged by each state, but also translation costs, which can entail additional costs of up to EUR 3 000 per country.

The so-called patent package, consisting of Regulations (EU) No 1257/2012 and (EU) No 1258/2012, which was brought to the Commission’s attention some time ago, would allow unitary patents to be granted. This would have an immediate impact on the territories of the member states participating in enhanced cooperation, thereby preventing the need for further validations and additional costs for patent holders.

Can the Commission therefore say :

1. why the procedure relating to the approval of the ‘patent package’ has not been concluded ;

2. whether it intends to take any measures to ensure that this reform is implemented, and becomes operational, swiftly ? »

Réponse de Mr. Breton au nom de la Commission européenne :

« Securing the launch of the unitary patent system is among the key priorities of the Commission, which is working closely with the Member States concerned.

The Commission notes that, following the adoption of Regulations (EU) No 1257/2012 and (EU) No 1258/2012 in 2012, the step remaining for the unitary patent system to become operational is the ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). This step is in the hands of the Member States participating in the enhanced cooperation in the area of unitary patent protection.

In this regard, the new system will only be launched after Germany ratifies the UPCA. The ratification process in Germany was, until recently, halted due to a legal challenge before the German Constitutional Court. Following the Court’s decision rendered in March 2020, and the recent positive votes by the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, Germany can proceed with the next steps of the ratification process, subject to a successful resolution of the new constitutional challenges recently filed.

The provisional application period — during which practical preparations will take place, including e.g. the recruitment of judges — could then start in 2021. The full launch of the system could then be reasonably expected in early 2022. »

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