Written by Caleb Gilliam-Scott
As of 15 January 2024, Georgia (The country, not the US state) has been added as a so-called “validation state” of the European Patent Organisation.
Geogia now joins the likes of Morocco, the Republic of Moldova, Tunisia, and Cambodia as additional countries where the grant of a European patent is recognised in kind, together with the EPO extension state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Validating a European patent in Georgia could present an attractive prospect due to the nation’s strategic geographical location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and its membership of the TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia) programme. With two of Georgia’s main import-export partners being China and Russia, patent protection in Georgia could prove a useful block against infringing products from these countries entering the wider market. With Georgia also being part of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU, Moldova and Ukraine, the country truly holds a unique position in East-West trade.
The country also holds candidate status for membership to the EU, and thus could within a number of years become part of the European single market.
Georgia’s burgeoning economy, characterized by a pro-business environment and liberal trade policies, creates opportunities for patent holders to tap into a dynamic market. The country has experienced steady economic growth, supported by a diverse range of industries, including agriculture, tourism, energy, and logistics. According to figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Georgia’s Gross Domestic Product in 2024 will be nearly 30 Billion US dollars, and is expected to rise by approximately 5% year on year over the next four years.
Georgia’s commitment to innovation and technology is reflected in its efforts to modernize infrastructure and attract foreign investment. By validating a European patent in Georgia, inventors can gain access to a market that is actively fostering innovation, making it a potentially lucrative venture in a country with a growing and resilient economy.
With the addition of Georgia to the EPO validation states, a single European patent could have protection in up to 45 countries, all on the basis of the prosecution of a single European application under the European Patent Convention (EPC).
Unlike other members of IP5, the five largest intellectual property offices in the world which include the offices of the US, Japan Korea and China, the European Patent Office continues to expand its geographic reach.
Arrangements through the validation and extension systems, together with additions to the list of contracting states (such as with the former extension state of Montenegro which became a full contracting state in November 2022), allow more countries around the world to effectively ‘buy’ European patent law. This trend is comparable for example to the way in which companies may prefer to ‘buy’ Delaware corporate law or international companies ‘buying’ English dispute resolution law, in part due to the larger body of case law in these jurisdictions.
The desire of companies for further access and exposure to European patent law can be seen to be growing with the new unitary patent, i.e. European patent with unitary effect, which is treated as a single IP right in at present 17 member states participating in the Unified Patent Court (UPC).
The extent of protection available for a European patent is outlined in the table below.
It has never been easier or more cost effective to have cross-border protection based on a single patent, and our experienced team based in our UK office look forward to helping you navigate patent protection in Europe and additional protection in countries such as Georgia, together with unitary patent protection.