Saturday

21st Sep 2019

EU breaks 30-year deadlock on joint patent

  • EU leaders agree to place the seat of the future European Patent Office in Paris - Spain and Italy continue to remain outside the agreement due to a language dispute (Photo: Argonne National Laboratory)

The final deadlock blocking a unified EU patent court was removed on Friday (29 June) when EU leaders agreed to place the seat in Paris.

“After thirty-years of negotiations we now have an agreement on the European patent,” Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt told reporters in Brussels.

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

Leaders agreed to divide the court between London, Paris and Munich – breaking an eight-month impasse on the location issue.

The compromise hinged on UK Prime Minister David Cameron's insistence on excluding references to the European Court of Justice – a demand that his colleagues eventually agreed to.

Each city will be responsible for a specific set of topics with the main seat based in Paris.

Paris will also host the central division of the court of first instance, the president’s office and registry. London and Munich will each deal with around 30 percent of patent litigation cases.

Administration, research, engineering, and research efficiency patent cases will go to Munich. Pharmaceutical, life sciences, and ‘human necessity’ cases will go to London.

The decision will make it considerably cheaper for inventors to register their patents.

According to the European Commission, getting a patent through the current, fragmented system can cost €32,000 when patent protection is sought in all 27 member states.

Some €23,000 arises from translation fees alone. In the US, it costs €1,850 on average.

Additionally, judgements made in different EU member states on the same patent case are sometime in conflict.

"The simplification of the existing patent system will bring particular benefits to small and medium-sized enterprises and to innovators in universities and research centres," said Benoît Battistelli, president of the European Patent Office (EPO), in a statement.

The EU patent court is not expected to become operational before the end of the year.

A convention establishing the court must first be ratified by all member states with a risk of it first having to be put to a referendum in for example Denmark, due to opposition in parliament.

Focus

British MPs demand London court to counter EU patent costs

MPs on the UK's House of Commons European Scrutiny committee have demanded that the new EU patent court be based in London in order to mitigate against what it described as "the most damaging effects of a unitary EU-wide patent".

Angry MEPs postpone patent vote

Just days after being hailed as solved, the EU decades-long quest for a single patent hit an unexpected snag on Monday evening when MEPs postponed a vote on the draft patent claiming member states had "emasculated" the proposal.

Hungary tops EU anti-fraud investigation list

In its annual report, the EU's anti-fraud agency said it concluded nine investigations into Hungary and found irregularities in seven cases. In total, the agency recommended the recovery of €371m EU-wide.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board

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 MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us