Industryweek 3336 Eu
Industryweek 3336 Eu
Industryweek 3336 Eu
Industryweek 3336 Eu
Industryweek 3336 Eu

Single EU Patent Dream a Reality after Decades-Long Struggle

Dec. 11, 2012
With the reform, the cost of filing patent applications in Europe would fall progressively from around 30,000 euros ($39,000) to 5,000 euros, the EU executive has said. The rules become effective in 2014.

STRASBOURG - The decades-old dream of a genuine cross-border patent regime for Europe is a reality after the European Parliament and the EU's top court approved moves Tuesday to streamline the system.

In decisions that will slash costs for business and help protect copyright, a large majority of lawmakers sitting in Strasbourg backed changes negotiated for a generation and more.

The current European patent regime "is effectively a tax on innovation," said Italian conservative lawmaker Raffaele Baldassarre.

The new single patent is intended to provide a simpler, cheaper and more effective system to manage 60,000 patent applications a year across the 27-member EU.

This figure trails applications in China and the United States and it is hoped that the new regime will encourage more people to register their inventions.

On Wednesday, UN data said China's State Intellectual Property Office had received a whopping 526,412 patent applications last year compared to 503,582 for the United States and 342,610 for third place-holder Japan.

With the reform, the cost of filing patent applications in Europe would fall progressively from around 30,000 euros ($39,000) to 5,000 euros, the EU executive has said. The rules become effective in 2014.

"We are thinking about smaller businesses who ... so far, didn't have the means to develop given the high cost of filing patent applications," said French MEP Catherine Trautmann after the vote.

"This should no longer prove an obstacle," she said.

The new rules do not cover software patents, which centrist lawmakers in the parliament stressed should remain "outside of the scope of the European unitary patent."

Passing the Plan

The patent plan already had the approval of ministers from 25 of the 27 European Union states and on Tuesday just before the parliament vote, the top legal officer of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) recommended dismissal of objections from Spain and Italy.

The ECJ's Advocate General, Yves Bot, whose opinion the court normally follows, said it "should reject all the pleas put forward by Spain and Italy and, consequently, dismiss both actions."

Madrid and Rome had challenged the right of their EU partners to go ahead with the new system under an "enhanced cooperation" procedure.

They objected in particular that their rights would suffer because the new patents would be in three languages only -- English, French and German.

Bot said the EU did have the authority to adopt the enhanced cooperation procedure and in this case, had exercised this power properly.

A single patent system would also not disadvantage some member states, as argued, he said, adding that the language provisions alone did not determine the validity of the enhanced cooperation procedure.

Victory on the patent battle -- which EU President Herman Van Rompuy's recently-retired chief of staff, Frans Van Daele, said was the biggest issue in town 40 years ago when he first entered the bloc's hierarchy  -- is seen as a vital contributor to economic growth going forward.

The years or haggling were finally led to a breakthrough at a June summit of EU leaders when Britain, France and Germany agreed to divide the spoils, with London, Paris and Munich hosting different parts of the new system.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

Popular Sponsored Recommendations

SEC Cybersecurity Rules: What’s Your Regulatory Risk?

Feb. 27, 2024
Join us for an insightful exploration of the evolving cyber threat landscape, SEC rule implications, and collaborative strategies to secure critical IT and OT networks in the ...

3D Printing a More Efficient Factory Floor

Nov. 16, 2023
Today’s additive manufacturing platforms make it simple to print a wide range of high-performing industrial parts as soon as possible and right where you need them — unlocking...

Five Ways Aerospace and Defense MRO Can Prepare for the New Normal!

Dec. 6, 2023
The right tools can help A&D suppliers track the essentials & ultimately, boost their margins. Advanced analytics can also help determine the profitability of contracts, drive...

How to Build a Predictive Maintenance Program: Lessons Learned from LSB Industries’ Success

Dec. 21, 2023
Register today and join this webinar to gain insight on best practices for setting up a predictive maintenance program from industry experts.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!