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Spanish National Patent Application System

By 28 de agosto de 2014No Comments

Based on the “Innovation and patents forum” we have discovered a few characteristics within the Spanish National Patent Application System that differ with other European systems. We have decided to have a look at these differences in order to find the link to the Unitary Patent System for the European Union.

First of all, the main difference in our system is the preliminary examination for patent applications, which we do not have. In Spain it is not compulsory to undergo a preliminary examination if you want to register a patent. There exists, though, a voluntary examination for those brave inventors who really invest in their inventions and want it to be a real advance for our culture and investigation field.  Nowadays, those intrepid inventors are only the 6% of all the Spanish patent applications. Why is that? How can a patent application go through without an exhaustive exam? Well, truth is that National systems try to be as cheap as they can get and no previous examination means money saved. Just like other countries in the EU (Belgium, France, Italy, and more), Spain does not believe a preliminary examination would do well to their inventors, mainly because Spain only has around 3700 patents granted each year and that number could be decreased if we implement the examination.

One of the problems with Spanish patents is the “curricular patent” which includes all the patents presented by professors or universities with the only aim of having as many patents as possible by their name to increase their curriculum, and probably their budget and salary. Some of those patents are not as innovative and they would not be able to register them if there was a preliminary and compulsory examination.

We have also been wondering, where does the European patent application system stand on this? The European patent application system does have an examination process for those patents requested and that is another reason why, due to the costs of both National and European application, it is not worth it to spend savings on both applications and examinations we you can simply apply for a European patent with Spanish priority.

There are several advantages to these examinations which would serve as a filter of the quality and innovative aspects of the patents, there would also be some new jobs for those examiners and the system would be more similar to those in the EU.

On the other hand, some disadvantages already mentioned are the increased cost of the application, the time spent on those procedures, as well as the sudden amount of work overtaken by the National office (OEPM).

In conclusion, the Spanish Patent system has a few leaks difficult to fix and maybe the Unitary Patent system could help it float with some of their patches or could make it sink even deeper.


Information in Spanish on the OEPM web page.

Irean Navas

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