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The IFIA activity for the EU Patent

Last Update
March 31,  2011 

What is the EU Patent?

The EU patent or European Union patent, formerly known as the Community patent, European Community Patent, or EC patent and sometimes abbreviated as COMPAT, is a patent law measure being debated within the European Union, which would allow individuals and companies to obtain a unitary patent throughout the European Union.

Work on a Community patent started in the 1970s, but the resulting Community Patent Convention (CPC) was a failure.

The "Luxembourg Conference on the Community Patent" took place indeed in 1975 and the Convention for the European Patent for the common market, or (Luxembourg) Community Patent Convention (CPC), was signed at Luxembourg on December 15, 1975, by the 9 member states of the European Economic Community at that time. However the CPC never entered into force. It was not ratified by enough countries.

The EU patent should not be confused with European patents which are granted under the European Patent Convention. European patents, once granted, become a bundle of nationally enforceable patents, in the designated states. This can be expensive for both patentees and third parties in that enforcement must be carried out through national courts in individual countries, and revocation cannot be accomplished centrally once the nine-month opposition period has expired. The EU patent is intended to solve these problems, and also to provide a patent right that is consistent across Europe, thus fulfilling one of the key principles of the Internal Market in that the same market conditions should exist wherever in Europe trade is carried out - different patent rights in different countries presents a distortion of this principle.

In view of the difficulties in reaching an agreement on the community patent, other legal agreements have been proposed outside the European Union legal framework to reduce the cost of translation (of patents when granted) and litigation, namely the London Agreement, which entered into force on May 1, 2008—and which has reduced the number of countries requiring translation of European patents granted nowadays under the European Patent Convention, and the corresponding costs to obtain a European patent— and the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA), which is as of 2010 only a proposal.

More > > > here

The IFIA activity and EU Patent actions in 2007

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council "Enhancing the patent system in Europe" (Brussels, April 3, 2007): "The Commission of the European Communities is of the opinion that the creation of a single Community patent continues to be a key objective for Europe " > > > full text of the Communication


The IFIA Declaration 2007 (Budapest, January 22, 2007) expressed the necessity of Community patent. This document had been sent to the EU leadership and the EU members' Governments.


The IFIA activity and the EU Patent actions in 2010


“Proposal for a Council Regulation on the translation arrangements for the European Union patent” on July 2nd, 2010. > > > hereAn Impact assessment about this proposal by the EU Commission > > > here



IFIA’s point of view concerning to the upcoming EU patent


IFIA Declaration about EU patent


IFIA is the voice of inventors, as the unified and unique world federation of national inventors associations and innovation organizations from 88 countries. IFIA includes the majority of patent applicants, who are mostly independent inventors, small and medium enterprises, universities, research institutes and other non-profit organizations.


                  The protection of inventions can only serve its purpose, if it is accessible on the relevant markets for all creators. Geographically widespread protection is a necessity. Today access to such protection is limited by its high cost. The costs of a wider international protection for an invention are so high, that a great majority of inventors are practically unable to protect their inventions.


                  The European Union (EU), an economical and political formation of 27 European countries, having 500 millions people inhabitants represents a great market. Unfortunately, there is no one common patent, which would be enforced in all EU countries. The present situation consists of separate national patenting into the EU member states using the national languages. Due to the translation costs, the EU patent protection is 10 times more expensive than in the USA market.


                  The cost reduction solution of patenting in the EU would be a patent system based on the Community Patent Convention (CPC). Work on the EU patent started in the 1970s, but the resulting CPC was a failure. It was not ratified by enough countries. The latest development in this field is the European Commission proposal (“Proposal for a Council Regulation on the translation arrangements for the European Union patent” on July 2nd, 2010.)


The IFIA upholds the interest of the majority of patent applicants for fast realization of the EU patent.


Finally the IFIA strongly supports the above proposal which will accelerate innovation worldwide and it will not only be an efficient anti-crisis tool, but also be particularly beneficial for SMEs.


This document is adopted by the General Assembly of the IFIA, in Nuremberg on the 29th of October 2010.

This document > > > pdf format


This document had been sent to the EU leadership, the EPO and the WIPO.


Answers from: EU Commission;   EPO


COUNCIL DECISION authorising enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection > > > Document    (dated on 14 December 2010)


The IFIA activity and the EU Patent actions in 2011

Until 14 March 2011 25 EU member states had been adopted the EU Patent. Two countries (Spain and Italy) had no adopted.

NEW! The authorisation of the EU Patent System will be under the Hungarian EU presidency in May. The start of EU Patent System will be in 2014!