Patent Bomb under Danish Companies

Budde Schou

A new European unitary patent system enters into force on 1 June 2023, and it multiplies the risk of infringing a patent.

A new European unitary patent system entered into force on 1 June 2023, and it multiplies the risk of infringing a patent.

The new system will send the number of valid European patents in Denmark skyrocketing.

The Danish Patent and Trademark Office’s latest annual statistics show that during the period 2015-2020 an average of 9,000 European patents were made valid in Denmark annually, and going forward the number will most likely increase tenfold.

-The long-awaited system makes it both cheaper and faster to enforce patents in Europe. With the new arrangement, there will be a central court for handling conflicts based on issued European patents. At the same time, it means that European patent applications that are granted can now be validated at a lower cost in many countries, says partner Jan Sørensen.

The system is valid from 1 June 2023 meaning that a granted European patent can be put into effect in 17 of the 27 EU countries. Meanwhile, cases of conflict in relation to the patents can be decided on by a central court. However, with the new system, the risk of infringing existing patents also increases, which may have serious consequences for Danish companies.

-The many new patents we see on the horizon mean that especially Danish development and production companies are forced to examine existing rights to a much greater degree. More than ever before they need to do screening of pre-existing rights before starting product development. Failing in that process, is risking having to discard the development work and ending up having to drop the product launch, which is of course very expensive, says Jan Sørensen.

The basis of the business was threatened
That a newly discovered patent may pull the rug away from under a business is something CMS Dental A/S has experienced. The company are specialists in the prevention and treatment of disease states in the oral cavity, and a global competitor had registered a European Patent for a method of manufacturing points and obturators for dental root canal fillings, which was identical to the production method used by CMS Dental for over 25 years.

-It came as a shock to us when we discovered that the company had the patent. At once, our business basis was threatened, and we were almost looking down into a black hole. But with skillful guidance from experts, fortunately the competitor’s patent was overturned, but it came very close to being a costly affair. I would urge others to proactively screen the market for patents before it is too late, says Lisbeth Rose, founder and co-owner of CMS Dental A/S.

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