'Easier' EU patent fails to please

A POLITICAL compromise has been struck that should clear the way for a new European Union (EU) Community Patent which would be simpler and easier to acquire than via existing national and European systems.

However, supporters of a simple EU patent are likely to be disappointed by the deal, as it includes complicated translation rules. The European Commission, for instance, had originally proposed that Community Patents should be written in one language. However, the EU Council of Ministers has decided that once a Community Patent is granted, it will have to be translated into the official language of all the countries where the holder wants the protection to apply.

There was more progress over jurisdiction, however, with ministers agreeing that a central Community Patent Court should be established by 2010 to hear disputes, with appeals being heard by the Court of First Instance of the European Court of Justice. Defendants would decide the language of any proceedings, and initial patent awards would be made by the European Patent Office in Munich.

A council statement said that the system was meant to create “a single industrial property right for the whole EU”.