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Spain: New Patent Law comes into force

Law 24/2015 came into force on April 1. It completely modifies the previous Spanish Law 11/1986.

The new Spanish Patent law aims to modernise our legal system and promotes a better fit with European and international patent law. Also, it pursues the eradication of the regulatory dispersion regarding the processing of patents, utility models and supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) and last but not least, reduces and expedites the administrative burden.

Among the most relevant changes that the new law brings along, the implementation of a single patent grant procedure with a substantive examination of patentability is noteworthy. This new procedure will foster the production of stronger patents in Spain. In addition to this important change in the proceeding under new Law, third parties may dispute the validity of a granted patent by filing a post-grant opposition as stated in the European Patent Convention (EPC). Another important novelty is that the search report (IET) on prior art will be issued within the priority year.

Additionally, the scope of utility models is extended to include substances and chemical compositions other than those related to biological materials and pharmaceuticals. Utility models have turned into an attractive alternative for certain inventions not only due to the increase in the scope of protection, but also because of the lack of preliminary examination. For some cases the use of utility models will be more efficient, fast and cost effective than protection through patents.

The present Law introduces the elimination of the exemption of the payment of fees by public universities. From April 1 2017 public universities have a 50% discount on fees which could be even 100% in those cases where inventions have reached the market. Entrepreneurs and SMEs will be paying 50% of fees for filing, preparation of the state of the art reports, conducting substantive examination and the payment of the three first annuities.

Opinions on the new Law are diverse. Private companies will for sure be those that best adapt to the new system. We expect that the new Patent Law will turn into an extraordinary opportunity to promote innovation in our country, besides pushing a major awareness about the capital importance of protecting R&D results through IP instruments.

Patricia Ramos

Glorieta Rubén Darío, 4
28010 – Madrid Spain
Tel: +34 917007600
Fax: +34 913086103



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