Towards a European Patent System

The discussion regarding translation within the European patent system continues. In its latest draft for a European patent system, the European Commission (EC) suggests that patent applications have to be submitted in English, French and German to be valid in all European member states. Spain and Italy oppose that suggestion. Spain is in favor of a “one plus one” system, which means publishing in English and one additional language. Italy has already announced that it will stop the EC initiative by a veto. Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Cyprus are also very skeptical concerning the EC draft.

Despite this, the majority of European Union (EU) member states aim to increase pressure on the opposing countries in order to find a simplified patent solution that substantially reduces applicants’ fees.  A possible compromise could be a new way of cooperation in the EU,. It would allow EU countries to establish bilateral or multilateral rules with other countries within the EU that don’t have to be applied by all 27 member states.  This was successfully applied during the EURO currency change and the Schengen Agreement to reduce national borders.

A European patent with simplified translation procedures was first suggested by the European Commission more than a decade ago. Still, some members of the EU insist on requiring patents to be translated in all European member states.  The language debate is the most difficult political issue within the European patent discussion.

What are your thoughts on the issue?

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Financial Times: Political Push for Single EU-Wide Patent