Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs), compulsory licensing and Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) are central to the reform of the EU’s intellectual property (IP) legislation announced on 27 April 2023. The package is comprehensive of several Regulations; it will undergo assessment by the EU Council and Parliament before adoption. The proposed provisions will act in coordination with the Unitary Patent system which enter into force on 1 June 2023. The creation of a unitary SPC aims to overcome the current fragmentation, leading to differences in the expiry dates for patents and frequent litigations. The unitary SPC would be granted by the EUIPO, upon assessment of a single application. SPCs for each of the Member States designated in the application would also be granted.

The proposals on compulsory licensing during emergency or crisis situation aims to facilitate access to critical medicines and products. The new rules would be activated only upon the previous activation of another specific EU crisis instruments. A fair remuneration of IP owners is also included in the proposal. SEPs are mainly used by the ICT industry, as they support the development of standard-compliant products and technologies for the Internet of Things. SEP holders are committed to license these patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, allowing access to market to implementers. The proposed SEP licensing framework aims to create a balanced system and improve transparency and predictability, thus incentivising good faith negotiations between interested parties.

Source: European Commission