The European Patent Office (EPO) registered in 2014 considerably more Dutch inventions than in 2013. Companies, institutions and researchers filed in total 8104 applications for a European patent. That is 9.1 percent more than a year earlier. The Netherlands therefore passes Switzerland as number three in Europe.
Since 2008 RUG and UMCG have a joint and active patent policy, the management of which is executed by the RUG department Research & Valorisation and the Business Generator Groningen. In recent years, RUG/UMCG filed an average of 15-20 patent applications per year which is well comparable to that of other Dutch universities and medical centers. The total numbers of filed patent applications since 1994 are indicated below; it is noted that patent applications of UMCG are filed in the joint name of RUG+AZG.
The route for patent filing standardly taken by RUG/UMCG is the European PCT procedure: as a first filing, also called priority filing, a European patent application is filed, followed after one year by an international (PCT) patent application. PCT stands for Patent Corporation Treaty: about 145 countries all over the world have joined this treaty implying that a PCT patent application provides preliminary patent protection in all member states. The EP-PCT route is attractive since it is a cost-efficient procedure providing the applicant/owner with high quality search reports. Search reports represent important indicators of the chances on granting; this is quite valuable since granting of a patent takes at least 5 years and comes with high costs. Depending on the situation, and the wishes of partners i.e. co-owers of a patent, RUG/UMCG may also follow other patent procedures than EP-PCT.
With respect to patent applications filed with EPO, RUG/UMCG have performed as follows:
In 2013, RUG/UMCG filed a total of 19 patent applications, in her own name or joint with others. Of these 19 first filings, 10 were filed at the EPO (European Patent Office), and the rest were filed as PCT (4), Dutch (2), US (2) and Great Britain (1) application(s).
In 2014, RUG/UMCG filed at least 16 patent applications, in her own name or joint with others. At present, 16 first filings are known to R&V/SBGG but the definite number will be adjusted upwards after we have received all filing data. Of these 16 first filings, 7 were filed at the EPO, and the rest as PCT (2), Dutch (3), US (1), Great Britain (1), Germany (1) and Slovenia (1) application(s). It should be noted that a direct comparison between the RUG/UMCG numbers of EPO applications and the total Dutch numbers of EPO applications is impossible, since it is unclear whether the number of 8104 EPO patent applications for Dutch inventions in 2014 encompasses first (priority) patent filings or national/regional patent filings, or both. The national organisation KNAW published an interesting report on the use of patents based on scientific research.
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