European Patent Reforms: Transforming European Patent Governance and Enhancing Collaborative Innovation?
Pp. 181-204 (24)
Esther van Zimmeren
The main objective of the current chapter is to examine to what extent the
European patent system, the decision-making process on the so-called “Patent Package”
and its implementation reflect the conceptual framework of dynamic governance, a
framework which aligns closely with the notion of collaborative innovation. In the
global patent context, a gradual increase of more dynamic patent governance has been
observed. The adoption of fundamental patent reforms in Europe calls for a review of
those reforms from a dynamic governance perspective. After decades of negotiations on
the European Union (EU) patent, the financial crisis has finally driven the EU Member
States and the EU institutions to gain the momentum and to adopt a compromise on the
Patent Package. These reforms are aimed at simplifying the European patent system,
lowering the costs of patenting, improving legal certainty and limiting forum-shopping
in terms of litigation. These objectives were supported widely by stakeholders.
However, despite these laudable objectives, the way the decision-making process was
spun out and then suddenly rushed through and the actual content of the package are
highly controversial. In the end, the reforms will further increase the complexity of the
European patent system, patent protection in Europe will probably remain rather
expensive and the risk of forum shopping may continue to persist to a certain extent.
This raises the fundamental question whether stakeholders have actually been
sufficiently involved in the decision-making process.
Collaborative innovation, dynamic governance, European Union,
governance, patent law, patent reforms, unitary patent.
Faculty of Law, University of Antwerp, Belgium.