SME case studies

The European Patent Office (EPO), in close collaboration with renowned IP experts, has published a set of twelve case studies on a range of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across Europe.

The studies show how companies can proactively adapt their IP strategy to real business needs, and illustrate the variety of approaches to and advantages of using IP. They also highlight the benefits that SMEs can expect from the planned Unitary Patent. This reform will offer businesses a simpler alternative to the existing system, and introduce a more cost-effective route to broad and uniform patent protection and dispute resolution throughout the participating EU member states.

For further information on this publication and to download the case studies, visit the EPO's website here.

Unitary Patent Guide

The European Patent Office (EPO) has published the first edition of the "Unitary Patent Guide".

This guide aims to:

  • provide companies, inventors and their representatives with an outline of the procedure involved in obtaining a Unitary Patent from EPO once it has granted a European patent on the basis of the provisions laid down in the European Patent Convention (EPC),
  • deal with the accessory procedures relating to Unitary Patents and
  • give an overview of the rules governing the payment of renewal fees for Unitary Patents.

You can access the Unitary Patent Guide on EPO's website, here.

Aquafragma: Building up a successful patenting strategy for an EU-funded project

In this new case study, Dion Toumazis & Associates, a consultancy firm of architects and engineers from Cyprus, tells us about its project: Aquafragma. The case study explains how the company got inspired for developing the project and how its IP strategy was shaped with the help of the Enterprise Europe Network and the European IPR Helpdesk. 

European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin Issue (26)

We are pleased to inform you that Issue 26 of the European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin has been published and is now available online.

This Bulletin issue is largely dedicated to software and its importance for business.

An article from Teresa Gomez-Diaz, a Research Engineer at CNRS/LIGM, sets out the basics of software protection and the concept of free and open source software while the next article, by Stefano Gentile, Legal Officer of the European Commission's Central IP Service, focuses on the recently released version 1.2 of the European Union Licence.

Sigmar Lampe, Counsel IP and Licensing at the Université du Luxembourg, provides an overview of the general regime of software patentability in Europe.

In addition, an interview with Barker Brettell, a law firm based in the UK, will assist you in better understanding computer-implemented inventions in Europe and will provide you with some guidance on how software companies can best manage their software-related intellectual property rights. Furthermore, BMAT, a Spanish company operating in the music industry, shares with us its expertise in this field in an interview.

As per usual, the Bulletin reports information about past IPR events together with the latest news from the Helpline service. This time you will also find a short article regarding the 2017 Campaign of the EU Open4Business series of events, as well as our brand new software crossword quiz and the usual patent quiz.

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Atarés Mosaics: International market selection and IP as a differentiation value

You have a patentable technology and a business ready for international expansion? Get inspired by Atarés Mosaics' internationalisation strategy and learn about the steps to be followed to ensure that your technology is protected in a commercially efficient manner. 


CIFRA survey on ICT-related patents

Within the framework of the CIFRA project (Challenging the ICT Patent Framework for Responsible Innovation), a project within Horizon 2020 of the European Commission, a survey has been developed to collect the opinions and attitudes of stakeholders involved in or with the ICT sector towards the current patent regime. With this survey, the CIFRA Consortium, whose partners are Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (DE), Telefónica Investigación y Desarrollo SA (ES), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi (IT) and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (ES), aims to review the issues and possible improvements related to the current framework for ICT patents to promote responsible innovation.

The deadline for answering the survey is the end of July.

To access the survey please click here.

For more information regarding the CIFRA project, you can visit the CIFRA project website here.


WIPO releases 2016 global statistics on IP filings

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has published the statistics on international patent, trade mark and design applications in 2016. The numbers show that last year was a record year for international patent applications and reveals a strong demand for trade marks and designs.

In patents, 233,000 applications were filed in 2016 through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system. Germany is the only European country in the top-five patent applicants by taking the fourth place behind the USA, Japan and China. The second-best European country, France, holds the seventh position in the ranking.

In trade marks, 52,550 applications were filed under the Madrid System, meaning a 7.2% increase in comparison to 2015. The top applicants in this area are the USA, Germany, France, China and Switzerland. The European Union was the second most designated member after China.

In designs filed through the Hague System, the total number of applications were 18,716, this time dominated by the European countries Germany and Switzerland, then the Republic of Korea, the USA and the Netherlands. The European Union was the most designated member in the Hague System applications last year.


For more information regarding the WIPO statistics, please read the WIPO dedicated pages here together with the infographics.

Please check our fact sheet "Intellectual property relevance in internationalisation" for more information.


Index for the Guidelines on Examination regarding computer-implemented inventions is now online

The European Patent Office (EPO) has published an index of links to the sections of the Guidelines for Examination related to computer-implemented inventions (CIIs).
The EPO has announced that this index is not a separate or new publication about CIIs however; this collection of hyperlinks provides easy access to the relevant sections of the EPO’s Guidelines for Examination, which give instructions particularly useful for the search and examination of CIIs.
The published index together with further information regarding its use is available here.

European Commission report on software patentability

The European Commission (EC) has published a report on “The trends and current practices in the area of patentability of computer implemented inventions within the EU and the U.S.”, which aims at providing a deeper understanding of patent protection for software, in particular in relation to Cloud Computing, in the European Union as compared to the United States.

Further information and the full text of the report are available here