Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

European Patent System

  • Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la PotterieEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_8


The European patent system is defined as the policy mechanisms, jurisdictions, and institutions in Europe which allow inventors to acquire and enforce industrial property rights over their inventions.


The European patent system is a terminology which is often oversimplified and described through the European Patent Convention (EPC). This is a multilateral treaty signed in October 1973 which essentially consists in creating the European Patent Organisation and in providing a legal system for the granting of European Patents. EPC patents, or so-called “European” Patents, are actually not really European, in the sense that they have to be translated and validated in national patent offices in order to be enforceable in national jurisdictions. The European patent system is more complex than the EPC, as it includes three layers of legal rights (national patents, the current European Patent, and the forthcoming Unitary Patent). Two types of patent offices grant these...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Solvay Brussels School of Economics and ManagementUniversité libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium