INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Presentation

Today, the point is to draw up an inventory on innovation policy in Europe: are European companies sufficiently innovative compared to the rest of the world market ? Are governments sufficiently supporting business competitiveness? Where is Europe situated compared with its major competitors, the United States and Japan?

If the patent system fulfils an obvious role in competitiveness in the European Union, there remain differences between countries in the use of intellectual property. There is today no real European intellectual property culture.

Several questions are today at issue for harmonising European intellectual property tools, stimulating research and development and reinforcing the innovative position of European companies:

• The community patent project, giving inventors the possibility to obtain a single patent that is legally valid throughout the European Union. The CNCPI maintains that a community patent project should be inspired by the solutions adopted for trade marks or community models: the translation of significant extracts of the description of a patent and true recognition of integral pivot languages in order not to put European companies at a disadvantage in their use of the European patent system towards non-European companies.

• The creation of a common European jurisdiction on patents by way of the EPLA (the European Patent Treaty Project): the CNCPI wishes efforts in this respect to be pursued, while ensuring the linguistic balance of the project

• Ratification of the London Agreement: ratification of the London Agreement would not, according to the CNCPI, contribute to stimulating the filing activity of French companies. Ratifying this document would be a “gift” with no counterpart to British and Japanese multinationals, who would be able to file even more patents, and reinforce their hegemony and the legal and technological dependency of France in particular. This text would create more legal uncertainty for French companies, which will have to deal with European patents which, essentially, would no longer be available in French and which they would be obliged to translate for their own purposes in order to master their scope.

Key Figures

See useful links below

Questions and answers

In Europe, should we not tend towards setting up a single judicial system in order to protect creation and innovation better?
There is sometimes the feeling that the European Union has favoured free competition over industrial property, whereas the both are indissociable. Thus the Office of Harmonisation for the Internal Market, which deals with marks and models, is on a community basis, whilst the European patent is not. In this regard, language has become a national stake, since it makes it possible to establish benchmarks.
The CNCPI considers that it is necessary to find a linguistic compromise around a small number of pivot languages that have legitimacy. At a minimum: trilingualism, French/English/German, the languages of the countries that file the most patents. It will be possible to add Spanish or even Italian to this, on the model of the community mark.

However, it may also be wondered whether it would be interesting to have a “Mr IP” in Europe. A reinforcement of administrative structures at a European level would in fact facilitate company actions.


Liens utiles
Europen patents statistics : last annual report
OHMI statistics : patents, trade marks, models
WIPO Statistics - PCT Statistical Indicators Report by month
Wipo statistics