Italy and Spain in Court Bid to Stop EU Patent

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At the moment in Europe, patents are granted according to the European Patent Convention.

The European Patent Convention is an international treaty, although many member states are also members of the European Union. Currently European Union wide patents are not presently granted under EU legislation and the present European patent results in a bundle of individual national patents.

For several decades, there has been a proposed European Community patent (now called EU patent) which would cover the whole of European Union. However, attempts to make the EU patent a practical reality have always stumbled on the issue of translations.

The latest proposal to go ahead with the EU patent in the languages of English, French and German has won the support of 25 EU member states, but excluding Italy and Spain.

Italy and Spain have repeatedly blocked the implementation of the EU patent, on the grounds that its implementation would require unanimous approval by all EU states, and Italy and Spain are withholding their approval.

The latest development is as follows:

"Italy and Spain have lodged a complaint with the European Court of Justice against the plan to go ahead with the EU patent without them.

The EU patent is backed by 25 member states and is being introduced under the "enhanced cooperation" procedure, after failure to obtain unanimity due to opposition to the proposed language scheme (English, French and German) from Italy and Spain.

In a statement, the Italian Foreign Ministry said it had lodged the complaint with the court to defend the values of the union against abuse.

Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said: "I am confident that the enhanced co-operation procedure presented by the Commission is not discriminatory. We are assured that Italian and Spanish business will suffer no discrimination."

Competitiveness ministers are to discuss the issue at a special meeting on 27 June in Luxembourg."

Quotation source: Office for the Harmonization in the Internal Market.

Article Published June 9, 2011