Saturday

20th Aug 2022

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

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.

Conditions met for German nuclear extension, officials say

Conditions have been met for the German government to allow a temporary lifetime extension of three remaining nuclear reactors, according to the Wall Street Journal, as the country is facing a likely shortage of gas this winter.

News in Brief

  1. China joins Russian military exercises in Vostok
  2. Ukraine nuclear plant damage would be 'suicide', says UN chief
  3. Denmark to invest €5.5bn in new warships
  4. German economy stagnates, finance ministry says
  5. Syria received stolen grain, says Ukraine envoy
  6. Truss still leads in next UK PM polling
  7. UN chief meets Zelensky and Erdogan over grain exports
  8. Fighting stalls ahead of UN visit, Ukraine says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. European inflation hits 25-year high, driven by energy spike
  2. No breakthrough in EU-hosted Kosovo/Serbia talks
  3. Letter to the Editor: Rosatom responds on Zaporizhzhia
  4. Could the central Asian 'stan' states turn away from Moscow?
  5. Serbia expects difficult talks with Kosovo at EU meeting
  6. How scary is threat to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant?
  7. Slovakia's government stares into the abyss
  8. Finland restricts Russian tourist visas

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us