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Parliamentary questions
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25 August 2016
Question for written answer E-006325-16
to the Commission
Rule 130
Maria Heubuch (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  Consequences of EU Unified Patent Court and EU Unitary Patent
 Answer in writing 

The European Unitary Patent seeks to guarantee supranational protection for inventions. However, the agreement to establish the Unified Patent Court (UPC) still has to be ratified by several Member States.

The Unitary Patent will bring some significant changes. Patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) will be directly valid in all participating countries. Until now, there have been different rules and procedures for national validation of patents granted by the EPO. Thus, inter alia, only a very small number of patents on seeds have been validated in a number of countries. In the future, a strong rise in the number of such patents (as well as patents in other sectors) that are valid in participating countries can be expected. This might result in over-patenting in sensitive areas such as agriculture, and a bigger playing field for so-called patent trolls.

Does the Commission expect many patent trolls to become active via the Unitary Patent?

Can it give an estimate as to the expected increase in both the number of patent applications that will be filed with the EPO and the number of patents that will be granted over the next few years?

Are there reasons to expect a wave of patent applications, especially from China, and maybe from the USA?

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