Little-known trouble at European Patent Office should put start-ups and investors alike on alert

The European Patent Office (EPO), the body responsible for ruling on patent applications submitted by companies across the continent, has come under fire recently as a result of growing concerns about the quality of patents it has been granting. While the EPO’s management team has celebrated recent increases in the overall number of patents granted as a sign of flourishing European innovation, an explosive letter sent to the organisation’s Administrative Council last month has cast doubt on the legitimacy of several of those patents. The letter – signed by more than 900 patent examiners working for the EPO – expresses grave concern that directives designed to increase the quantity of patent awards has led to a sharp decline in quality, with a growing number of patent applications being approved that should instead have been ruled invalid. It follows public criticism of the EPO leadership’s quality-first approach from politicians in Germany and the Netherlands, as well as from unions representing the patent examiners, who argue that conditions imposed on them are making their position untenable.

To continue reading this article, please visit the The Startup Network.

Get in touch

If you are an ambitious business and you expect an IP service provider that can understand and help you achieve your commercial objectives, then we want to work with you. Complete the enquiry form below and one of our specialists will be in touch within one working day. Alternatively you can call us on +44 (0)20 7655 8500. We look forward to hearing from you.