The European Parliament has voted for a unified patent system that, if ratified, would take effect beginning 2014. Members have voted in favor of the new system in three separate votes but ratification is needed by at 13 states and must include France, Germany and the UK.
The new method is considered to be a big improvement over the current patent system, as it would not only simplify the process involved in patenting but would cut costs significantly as well. The current average cost to register a patent is around 36,000 Euros, while the new system would bring that down by a very significant amount to around 4,700 Euros, an 80 percent decrease. Besides bringing down the costs and simplifying the process by translating patents to only 3 official languages (English, German and French), the new system would make it easier to get patent protection across the Union.
Because of the decision to use 3 official languages, however, Spain and Italy have rejected the system. Despite that, if the minimum 13 states give their official approval, we should be seeing a much improved patent system across Europe in around a year’s time.