Community patent gets waylaid

The EU Council of Ministers for Competitiveness has failed to agree legal proposals for setting up a so-called ‘community patent’‚ which would give inventors the option of obtaining a single patent that is valid throughout the EU.

Germany and Portugal succeeded in blocking the initiative to the annoyance of internal market commissioner Frits Bolkestein.

Germany cited problems with the rights of the German Lander (states) that have patent law jurisdiction. It insisted that the texts establishing decentralised chambers should tightly limit the number of those chambers and impose “strict criteria” on their operation so they would handle disputes within a single country or region. Portugal complained about the comprehension of patents.

Ministers are trying again on 26 November to reach a compromise, but council officials are not optimistic.