Thursday

17th Oct 2019

Member states squabble over seat of EU patent tribunal

  • Paris has not yet won the seat for the patent litigation court (Photo: Moyan Brenn)

EU ministers on Monday (5 December) failed to agree on the seat and the funding of a unified patent court, with Paris, London and Munich fighting for the headquarters.

A compromise "package" drafted by the Polish EU presidency got the support on most of the issues, except the seat of the main litigation court for the upcoming EU patent - with Britain and Germany refusing to cede it to France, as envisaged by the presidency, one EU diplomat told this website.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The court seat could bring millions of euros in revenues to the country hosting it, as it would attract a flurry of legal offices and other related businesses.

Under the non-contentious parts of the deal, Luxembourg would get the appeals court, Slovenia and Portugal two mediation and arbitration centres and Hungary a training facility.

"An agreement on the vital elements of the patent package substantially advanced by the Polish presidency may reduce the cost of obtaining the protection of inventions in the EU by as much as 80 percent," Polish economy minister Waldemar Pawlak said at a press conference late Monday night.

He insisted that the court seat is the only outstanding issue to be resolved in the coming weeks, in order for a final agreement to be signed on 22 December in Warsaw.

EU states have been fighting for over 30 years over a single patent scheme. The dossier was blocked for a long time due to a Spanish and Italian veto on the three official languages of the scheme - English, German and French. Both Rome and Madrid insisted that their languages also be included, despite the EU commission warning that the translation costs for five languages would make the patent too expensive.

A legal breakthrough arrived in 2009 with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which allowed the other 25 member states to go ahead with the scheme under the so-called enhanced co-operation mechanism.

With the appointment of former internal market commissioner Mario Monti as Prime Minister of Italy, EUobserver understands that Rome is also ready to join the scheme.

Monti was a strong promoter of the single patent project during his mandate in Brussels. Spain, meanwhile, has not indicated it will rethink its position.

Speaking to Italian journalists on Monday, EU affairs minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi said Rome is only "partially" changing its position for now, accepting to join the jurisdiction of the future patents court, but still maintains its opposition to the language system.

Focus

Italy and Spain sue EU over patent language

Italy and Spain have lodged a complaint with the European Court of Justice over the discrimination of their national languages in an EU patent scheme endorsed by the other 25 member states.

Top EU court bans stem cell patents

The European Court of Justice has banned patents on stem cells extracted from human embryos that are then discarded, a ruling with wide-reaching implications for medical research in Europe.

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us