As published in previous blogs, on 1 April 2017 a new Patents Act came into force in Spain which has modernized Spanish patent law. For example, the new Law got rid of “non-examined” patents. As a result, since 1 April 2017 all patents are examined, which has aligned the examination procedure with the standards of the most modern patent offices.

The first patent of which this author is aware that has followed the new examination procedure was granted on 5 February 2018, and was published in the “Boletín Oficial de la Propiedad Industrial” (Official Intellectual Property Journal) on 12 February 2018. The patent, which is owned by a relatively small company located in Vilablareix (Girona), a small village with approximately 2,000 inhabitants, protects “A machine for cleaning anilox rollers by laser and a process for the self-adjustment of the laser focal point to the diameter of the roller).

The speed of the examination process has been really remarkable, taking into account that the application was only filed on 7 June 2017.

The quality and speed of the examination process will hopefully make Spanish patents the natural alternative to the yet-to-arrive European patent with unitary effect, particularly for small and medium-sized companies seeking protection in less than four or five EPC contracting parties.