From the 1st of April, 2017 a new patent law will come into force, being one of the most significant changes in the last 40 years in this field. With the amendments introduced, it is intended to create a unitary effect, giving a uniform legal system security with the same effects in all Member States wing while reducing costs and encouraging R & D + I.
Although Spain will not be entering in the new system currently, being considered discriminatory the fact that Spanish is not considered an official language, while German, French and English are, once the new law enters into force, Spanish companies may hold European patents and may plead before the Unitary Patent Court an agreement to this court will be reached on day 19th of this month. Therefore, unless Spain finally decides to enter as a Member State, whoever might wish to attack the validity of a patent in Spain, will do so before Spanish courts.
The powers of the aforementioned Unitary Patent Court, made up of both technical and legal trained judges, will be: European patents for unitary effect; European “classes” patents for which it the opt-out has not been exercised (ie there has been no specific request on not entering the TUP system); supplementary protection certificates; the “classic” european requests pending or filed after the entry into force of the Agreement and; as a TUP exclusive competence, the decision on appeals against decisions of the European Patent Office on the grant of European patents with unitary effect.
The Court is divided into the Court of First Instance formed in turn by a central division and regional divisions, based in Paris, London and Munich; and a Court of Appeal in Luxembourg. In addition, there will be headquarters of Mediation and Arbitration, which will have the same concessions that the Court with the exclusion of the ability to limit or override patents.
The changes introduced by the new law of patents will make mandatory the examination of novelty and inventive step of patentability. Passing this examination will grant 20 years of patent, provided that an annual the fee for maintenance is paid. In addition, actions for infringement can be taken before the competent courts for the first seven years.
The patent will provide with the exclusive right to manufacture, use and commercial sale of whichever product or service. Firstly, a classical patent will be requested before the European Patent Office, and then, within a month from the first request, may unitary protection be requested. Moreover, not only the patent and utility models can be arranged, as settled down so far, but also a “supplementary protection certificate for medicinal and plant protection products” has been implemented.
Another interesting introduction refers to employees’ inventions, being that in the event that an employee makes an invention, this will have a period of one month instead of the used three month period, to notify the employer. Should not be his/her idea patentable, but does offer an advantage point for the employer to carry out their activities, shall the last one be obliged to compensate in a reasonable way to the inventor in order to exploit the idea for his/her own purposes.
These are just some of the innovations to be implemented with the new patent law, being a very complex and extended subject. Therefore, you can trust your project in the hands of experts in the matter, as the ones forming the team in DAEMI ZABALZA & ASSOCIATES.