Thursday

27th Jun 2019

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.

"We hope that the Court can annul this decision, which has been one of the most divisive ones in the history of European integration," Vincenzo Grassi from the Italian foreign ministry said on Tuesday (31 March) in Brussels while attending a meeting of EU competitiveness ministers.

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

Both Rome and Madrid are fighting to have the EU patent automatically translated into Italian and Spanish as well, not only the current three working languages provided for by the European Patent Office: English, French and German.

But including two more languages would drive up the costs of an already pricier patent scheme than what can be obtained in the US, for instance, making it more cumbersome for smaller enterprises or individuals to apply.

The establishment of a single EU patent scheme to replace the patchwork of national rules and systems is estimated to save European businesses red tape costs of up to €750 million a year.

"I am confident that the enhanced co-operation procedure presented by the Commission is not discriminatory. We are assured that Italian and Spanish business will suffer no discrimination," internal market commissioner Michel Barnier said in a statement. He added that he hoped both Italy and Spain would soon join the rest of EU member states in endorsing a single patent scheme.

Apart from the language issue, the EU patent is meanwhile running into another legal hurdle after the ECJ ruled in March that the creation of a litigation court would not be compatible with EU law.

Competitiveness ministers are to hold special talks on the patent issue on 27 June in Luxembourg.

Member states squabble over seat of EU patent tribunal

EU ministers have failed to agree on the seat and the funding of a unified patent court, with Paris, London and Munich fighting for the headquarters. Italy, meanwhile, has indicated it may join the 25-strong scheme, leaving only Spain out.

Innovation

As the EU continues to struggle with the effects of the economic crisis, the importance of investing in innovation and research is increasingly been emphasized. But how much money is enough and where should it be spent? EUobserver investigates.

EU innovation efforts unknown

The efforts of the EU to turn the old continent into an “innovation union” are largely unknown to business leaders, according to a survey by global accounting firm Ernst & Young.

Stakeholders' Highlights

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

Latest News

  1. EU anti-trust chief 'hates' US, Trump says
  2. Finnish presidency hopes for 2050 climate target by 2020
  3. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  4. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  5. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  6. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  7. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  8. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us