Achievements and New Perspectives
Edited by Christophe Geiger
Appendix: Raimund Lutz
The European Patent Organisation is an institution which over the past three decades, has emerged as a success story of European integration and cooperation, enabling Europe-wide patent protection to be garnered through a single, centralized and rationalized patent grant system whose proven high quality has made it a global benchmark. Today, the European Patent Organisation has 38 Member States. Extension Agreements are in force with Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro. Moreover, very recently, a validation agreement – the first of its kind – has been concluded with Morocco. This means that with a single European patent application, protection can now be obtained in up to 40 countries, covering an overall market of 600 million people. This market is greater than the US, Japanese and South Korean markets combined. There is strength in such numbers, but, as we know, there are also weaknesses: taken individually, huge competing markets such as the US, Japan and South Korea operate in a single language, under a single court jurisdiction and enjoy a unitary patent covering their territory. In contrast, a patent holder choosing to have Europe-wide protection ends up with a bundle of 40 European patents covering territories speaking more than 30 different languages and subject to 40 different court jurisdictions. In today’s world of intensifying economic competition, Europe cannot afford to lose ground in a sector as vital for innovation as patent policy. For this reason, it is my profound conviction that we must finish building the European patent system, creating the structures which were envisaged and embraced over half a century ago.
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