Monday, 9 May 2016

Is the Unitary Patent good for SME's?

The development if the Unitary Patent and the Unified patent court has always been accompanied by the popular narrative of reduced costs and benefit for SME's. Bjorn Ingve Stjerna has now critically tested the promises and political expectations against the reality which is now emerging and compiled his results in an article which is available for download here on his website, which further provides an impressing resource on background documents on the legislative history.

He comes to the conclusion that the alleged support of SMEs by the “unitary patent system” was nothing more than mere lip service in order to maneuver the “patent package” through the legislative proceedings as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Though this result may not come as a surprise given that the system remains essentially unchanged besides or replacing state-subsidized national courts are replaced with the supposedly self-supporting UPC, this article is a fascinating analysis showing how narratives and factoids or half-truths are capable of catalyzing political processes.


not surprised said...

The answer clearly is NO. Apart from a few politicians nobody ever believed that. The whole concept is tailor-made for big business. The delighted few are big corporations, mainly from overseas, and law firms, mainly from beyond the Channel. And, yes, welcome to patent trolls, we missed you so much that we had to change the system to make you come.

MaxDrei said...

I see three explanations (below: A, B and C) why the new system is good for Big Corp and a disaster for the SME's.

A: Big Corp lobbying duped Brussels

B: Brussels knew what was going on, but (for whatever reason) chose to be supine and simply allowed itself to be ravaged, that is to say, persuaded by those clever lobbyists

C: Those looking out for the interests of the SME's were grossly under-funded (or simply incompetent at the lobbying game).

Michael Thesen said...

The fee reduction for SME's clearly does not meet the expectations implied by the political rhetoric. However, I sincerely do not see why the new system should be a "disaster" for SME. After all, the new system will be a big step forward in terms of predictability of litigation costs, legal certainty and enforceability of rights.

Improved transparency in cross-border litigation and affordability of patents valid in 13 or more countries may not be the core interest of SME's but do not harm either. This is a flagship project for European integration (and, indeed, justice in a globalized world) with a clear benefit for the economy and society as a whole - including SME's.