EU Patent Reform: A poisoned gift for SMEs,

Article on the costs of “unitary patent” and Unified Patent Court in relation to the promised support of SMEs (Published on 28/04/2016)

On 16 February 2016, the German Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection presented two pieces of draft legislation for the ratification of the international Agreement on the Unified Patent Court. After the fees for the “unitary patent” have been fixed and a proposal for the court fees and the limits of reimbursable representation costs at the Unified Patent Court has been provided, the political promise that the new system would support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can be judged against the realities. It does not come as a surprise that it is not being fulfilled. Most recently, even the European Commission declared that cost risk would be so significant that SMEs required an insurance to cover it, while admitting at the same time that currently no such insurance is available. An overview on desire and reality as to the costs of the “unitary patent” and the Unified Patent Court.

  • Download English version (article of 28/04/2016, PDF)
  • Download German version (article of 28/04/2016, PDF)


  • Link to Commission recommendation 2003/361/EC concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises of 06/05/2003 (PDF)
  • Link to Commission document COM (1997) 314 of 24/06/1997 (PDF)
  • Link to the Resolution of the EU Parliament on the Commission Green Paper on the Community patent and the patent system in Europe – Promoting innovation through patents of 19/11/1998 (PDF)
  • Link to Commission document COM (1999) 42 final of 05/02/1999 (PDF)
  • Link to Commission document COM (2007) 165 final of 03/04/2007 (PDF)
  • Link to Stjerna, The Parliamentary History of the European “Unitary Patent” (Tredition 2016)
  • Link to the press statement of the Association of the German Industry (BDI) „Gute Nachricht für den Patent-Europameister Deutschland“ (“Good news for European patent champion Germany”) of 11/12/2012 (German, PDF)
  • Link to SPD Europa (German Social Democratic Party in Europe), Newsletter July 2012 (German, PDF)
  • Link to SPD Europa (German Social Democratic Party in Europe), Newsletter December 2012 (German, PDF)
  • Link to Council press statement “EU unitary patent: a big boost for innovation” of 17/12/2012 (PDF)
  • Link to the article „Einheitspatent schafft Chancengleichheit“ (“Unitary patent creates equal opportunities”), Association of German Engineers (VDI) Circular of 04/01/2013 (German, PDF)
  • Link to the press statement of the German Federal Government “EU-Patentrecht ist auf dem Weg” of 12/04/2013 (German)
  • Link to Council document 6572/13 of 19/02/2013 (PDF)
  • Link to Commission decision (EU) 2015/1753 of 30/09/2015 (PDF)
  • Link to Commission document “Costs comparison: Classic European Patent versus new Unitary patent”, undated (PDF)
  • Link to the study by Luke McDonagh, Exploring Perspectives of the Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent Within the Business and Legal Communities, published in July 2014 (PDF)
  • Link to the report of the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee, “The Unified Patent Court: help or hindrance?”, published on 03/05/2012 (PDF)
  • Link to Commission document “Preliminary Findings of DG Internal Market and Services Study on the Caseload and financing of the Unified Patent Court” of 07/11/2011 (PDF)
  • Link to the article “European criticism on high renewal fees as proposed for Unitary Patent”, Kluwer Patent Blog of 26/03/2015
  • Link to the article “How attractive will the European Patent with Unitary Effect be for Applicants?”, Kluwer Patent Blog of 12/03/2015
  • Link to document “Rules on Court fees and recoverable costs” of 25/02/2016 (PDF)
  • Link to document “Guidelines for the determination of Court fees and the ceiling of recoverable costs of the successful party”, undated (PDF)
  • Link to Commission document SWD (2015) 202 final of 28/10/2015 (PDF)
  • Link to the article by Jochen Pagenberg “Exclusivity, Transitional Arrangements and Opt-out – Risk of financial disaster for small companies in patent litigation”, 03.12.2012 (Englisch, PDF)

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