The Spanish Competition watchdog issues report on the proposed implementing provisions of the Patent Act

Patricia Carmona Botana

Yesterday, the Spanish Competition Authority (SCA) published a report on the draft Royal Decree authorising the Regulation implementing the Patent Act No. 24/2015 (Report). The Report includes indicators and statistics on the Spanish patent system such as the number of patents, costs and R&D&I data, and provides a comparison with other countries. According to the SCA, the data shows Spain’s relative weak position in patent innovation, which can be improved by designing more adequate patent provisions. In order to incentivise innovation, the Report recommends that the patent granting procedures be simplified, and that patent fees be oriented towards costs (within the perspective of an efficient operator). In addition, the Report recommends the re-evaluation of utility models which, if maintained, should be processed under the preliminary examination procedure, thus aligning them with the patents regime.1

The Report also includes a subsection on patent conduct that could trigger competition law scrutiny in the pharmaceutical sector such as patent settlements, patent thickets, defensive patents or product hopping.

1 At present, patent applicants can choose between the general granting procedure or the preliminary examination procedure. From 1 April 2017 – date of entry into force of the Patent Act – all patent applications will be processed following the preliminary examination procedure.

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