Thursday

25th May 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  2. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  3. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan
  4. Report: VW threatened with €19.7 billion French fine
  5. Turkey begins mass trial of suspected coup leaders
  6. Merkel's CDU consolidates lead in polls
  7. France to host Russian president
  8. Switzerland votes against nuclear power

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms

Latest News

  1. Openness over Brexit is 'political play', says EU ombudsman
  2. Le Pen's EU group in fresh spending scandal
  3. New EU right to data portability to cause headaches
  4. Cyber threats are inevitable, paralyzing impact is not
  5. Transparency complaints keep EU Ombudsman busy
  6. EU sets out criteria for relocating UK agencies
  7. EU states back bill against online hate speech
  8. Dutch coalition talks collapse again