10 June 2020
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy issued a policy memorandum for consultation purposes entitled Naar een mkb-vriendelijke Rijksoctrooiwet 1995 (towards an SME friendly Patents Act 1995). This policy memorandum outlines a number of specific proposals intended to make the national patent system more especially accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
According to the authors of the memorandum, Dutch companies in this category don't make sufficient use the patent protection options available to them, which may be due to potentially high costs and complexity of procedures. To this end, Taylor Wessing partner Wim Maas proposes the establishment of a second specialised IP court in the Netherlands, something that is not yet mentioned in the policy memorandum:
"I am convinced that a second IP court can lower the threshold for SMEs and therefore benefit the Dutch economy. The District Court in The Hague currently has exclusive jurisdiction to decide most patent disputes. The obvious advantage of this exclusive jurisdiction is that knowledge of, and experience with, patent law is highly concentrated at the District Court in The Hague. This clustering of knowledge enhances legal certainty. Rulings are consequently more predictable and more acceptable, which is a major benefit."
"The Netherlands is an important jurisdiction in the patent industry, and rulings by our judges in The Hague regularly serve as an example for foreign courts. However, we can also identify disadvantages caused by this monopoly. These disadvantages come to light in times when the judicial system is under pressure, when processing times of cases increase as well as the costs involved. The predictability and acceptability of the ruling will be adversely affected."
According to Wim, the problems caused by this monopoly can be solved by establishing a new IP court. This will increase the judicial system's capacity to focus on patent disputes, something that is a necessity (and not a luxury) in a small country that is nevertheless a major player in the European patent industry.
Wim further went on to say: "I believe there can only be one location for this new court: Eindhoven. Since 2016, the Eindhoven region (aka Brainport) has been recognised as a mainport. Due to the presence of many global technology enterprises and the close cooperation between the business sector, knowledge institutes and authorities (also known as the Triple Helix policy), Eindhoven has meanwhile officially become an economic core area of national importance. This is further underlined by the fact that the large majority of patent applications originate from this region."
A more detailed overview of Wim's proposal is available here.
by multiple authors
by multiple authors