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New EU Patent System Looming

Written by Ben Evans on 11 March 2011

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EU member states have now agreed to a new patent agreement covering 25 of the 27 member states.

As previously mentioned in the Reading Room EU bodies have tried for a number of years to create a single patent system in Europe with lower costs that the present system. Most of the current costs are down to the need to translate patent documents into the language of the country in which protection is sought.

12 member states made plans last year for a single system using only English, French and German. Since then every other member state with the exception of Italy and Spain have joined the system.

Both the European Commission and the European Parliament have approved the proposals albeit the ECJ this week published an opinion stating that the proposed scheme wouuld be incompatible with EU law as it would require a court system that would operate outside of the EU courts. This would mean that EU citizens would have no recourse through the EU courts. The Commission however has said that the ECJ ruling would not affect the proposals.

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