This report describes gives the results of the study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs into the costs and benefits of a local division of the Unified Patent Court. The Unified Patent Court is part of a new European patent system, which includes introducing a new type of unified European patent. Under the new system all holders of European patents will be able to bring disputes before a division of the Unified Patent Court. In addition to the three courts of the central division (in Paris, London and Munich, which cover different areas of technology) member states can set up regional divisions (set up by several member states) and local divisions (each set up by and in one member state). The study analyses whether it would be worthwhile to set up a local division in the Netherlands.

The analytical framework used for the study is social cost-benefit analysis (SCBA). An SCBA can be regarded as a difference analysis: the costs and benefits arise from the differences in outcomes between a situation with and a situation without a local division in the Netherlands. Because of the many uncertainties associated with future developments, and effects that cannot be pinned down in hard figures, however, an SCBA with a single monetary balance of benefits less costs was not carried out. The analytical framework was applied to examine under what conditions setting up a local division would be likely to produce social benefits what outweigh the costs. The analysis focused on the benefits and costs to Dutch society.

Setting up a local division of the Unified Patent Court would costs the goverment money for accommodation and facilities, but against this there would be benefits, such as higher quality, efficiency and acces to the judicial process. Whether these benefits outweigh the costs of setting up a local division depends on the scenario adopted.