A step further towards the unitary patent
© Foto Zihlmann, Fotolia
The unitary patent came closer to realisation on 27 June, when the Competitiveness Council agreed on two proposals on the creation of an EU-wide patent title and its language regime.
"The unitary patent protection will considerably reduce the costs and red tape for companies and individuals and provide a stimulus for European innovation", said Zoltàn Cséfalvay, Hungarian Minister for Strategic Affairs, who chaired the meeting. "Today's discussion sends a clear signal to all operators and citizens that the EU is able to deliver on a topic of such crucial importance for European innovation and competitiveness."
Patenting an invention is very expensive in Europe, mainly because of translation costs. As things are now, applications have to be translated into the language of the country where protection is applied for. Under the new regime, applications will only have to be translated into one of the three working languages - English, German or French - and for a transitional period of 12 months into another language chosen by the applicant.
When it comes into force, the EU-wide patent will be valid in the 25 member states participating in the enhanced cooperation on the scheme. Two member states, Italy and Spain, have decided to opt out, as they are not in favour of the language regime. Businesses from those two member states are, however, not excluded from taking out a unitary patent.
The texts will now have to be discussed and agreed with the European Parliament.
Press release (pdf)
Unitary patent to boost innovation (11.03.2011)