European Union patent law is a subset of European patent law. It also serves as the superset of the patent laws of the individual member states of the European Union (EU). The most recent (proposed) addition to the range of measures currently in place is the Directive on criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights. The most recent directive relating specifically to patents is Directive on the patentability of biotechnological inventions. Patents are probably the least harmonised area of intellectual property laws of the European Union insofar as harmonisation through EU Directives and Regulations is concerned. However, patentability criteria have been substantially harmonized by the European Patent Convention.

"The most noticeable characteristic of the present state of the patent law in the EU is its dualism, i.e. the coexistence of two different ways for obtaining patents with the same effects, namely limited to the territory of the Member State for which they are granted. (...) a Community patent, i.e. a patent which would cover the entire territory of the EU, have the same effects throughout the EU, which could be revoked centrally, etc., is not available because a great number of EU Member States have not ratified the 1989 Agreement Relating to Community Patents."[1]

"The continuing decentralized administration of European patents in as many as 17 States, in spite of the Single Market and the Maastricht Treaties, is an anachronism for which applicants have to pay dearly. Enforcement is another area where European patent holders must still live with disadvantages unknown to their US and Japanese competitors in their own countries.”[2]

See also





  1. ^ Straus, J. (1997)
  2. ^ Braendli (1995)

References and further reading