The European Patent Office has just published a Study on the Cost of Patenting by Roland Berger Market Research. In its Introduction the EPO confirmed what many of us had already suspected, namely that the cost of patenting in Europe is far higher than in the USA or Japan and far higher than most small and medium enterprises let alone individual inventors can afford.
As the cost varies according to the complexity of the technology, the number of designated countries, translations and other factors, the survey took as its paradigm a specification consisting of 11 pages of description with 10 claims spread over 3 pages. The cost of obtaining such a patent was €30,530 in Europe (as of 23 Dec 2005 £20,861.15) compared to €10,250 (£7,004.85 for a comparable US patent granted to a US company - British applicants would have to pay £16,469.94 which is still less than they have to pay for protection in their own market) and €5,460 (£3,731.36) that a Japanese company would have to pay for a patent in Japan.
The costs in Europe are made up as follows:
- pre-filing expenditure excluding R&D (€6,240),
- internal cost of processing (€3,070),
- attorney (patent agents') fees (€4,930),
- translation of application and claims (€3,020),
- official EPO fees (€3,410),
- validation (€9,870).
This does not even begin to take account of enforcement which is the major cost and far higher in the UK and the rest of Europe. As I have previously reported in my other blog, Gordon Brown has commissioned Andrew Gowers to review the UK’s intellectual property framework and to report to the Chancellor, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport by Autumn 2006 (see Gordon Bennett (or should that read "Brown"?) - Gowers Review of Intellectual Property). If he or the rest of his government is concerned about why the UK is lagging further and further behind its European and American competitors and even further behind its North Asian ones he should look at this report and think on.
Happy Christmas everyone.