The European Commission has opened the way for member states to create a common European patent system, despite opposition from Spain and Italy.
Twelve countries have signalled their intention to use the ‘enhanced co-operation’ process to create a patent among themselves after ministers failed to reach unanimity on an EU-wide system.
On Tuesday (14 December), the Commission published its plan for how to move ahead – only the second time that enhanced co-operation has been used.
The proposal to authorise the procedure now needs to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers by qualified majority.
The Commission will present more detailed plans on implementation in the new year.
Member states that do not sign up to the unified patent system at this stage will be able to join at a later date, while companies registered in countries that are not taking part will still be able to file patents under the new system.
The patent will be granted in English, French or German, but applicants would be able to choose to file applications in any other official EU language. It would then be translated into one of the three languages.
Spain and Italy opposed the plan on linguistic grounds and called for further discussions to arrive at a deal that all 27 member states could agree on, rather than resort to enhanced co-operation.
The 12 countries that have requested the move are Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK.
Michel Barnier, the European commissioner for the internal market, said the cost of having to file patents in more than one country meant that there should be “no further delay” to setting up a unified system.
Enhanced co-operation was used for the first time in March this year, when ten countries agreed to a regulation on cases of divorce where partners come from different member states.
Click Here: All Blacks Rugby Jersey