What would you say if you ordered three rolls from the bakery, but from now on there are only packs of 10, which fortunately only cost as much as seven? For your three-bun hunger, that does you precious little good. The costs grow, but your hunger doesn’t.
The situation is similar with the unitary patent, which is touted with completely unrealistic figures as an alleged cost reducer. For most medium-sized applicants, the new unitary patent means only one thing, especially after the UK’s exit: costs continue to rise. Only for companies that actually need patent protection in many of the contracting states of the unitary patent costs will go down – but these companies are in the minority.
And in addition to the rising costs for many of the applicants, there is another serious disadvantage: If their patent is brought down in one state, it will fall in all 25 states.
The bottom line is: you get protection in more countries – for more money. But many small and medium-sized companies do not need this additional protection bought at great expense.
For some years now, international companies that used to use the European Patent Office almost exclusively have been filing more and more national patent applications in Germany, France and the United Kingdom – a trend that will intensify with the introduction of the unitary patent and the completion of Brexit, especially since there is already a clear cost advantage in terms of official fees. An average European patent application with 10 claims costs around 8,000 euros in official fees over a term of seven years, while the same application as a national application in Germany, France and the United Kingdom only incurs official fees of just under 2,500 euros. It is therefore worth considering national applications, even if translation costs are then incurred.
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