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40-year EU patent fight nears end

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40-year EU patent fight nears end


40-year EU patent fight nears end

    BRUSSELS, June 17: While the eurozone crisis tears the bloc apart, hopes are rising this weekend that a four-decade battle over a single EU patent regime can finally be resolved... with a little bit of give and take from London.

    Under the current system, companies and inventors big or small must acquire patents in individual European Union countries -- a process that can cost up to 20,000 euros ($25,200), including 14,000 euros in translation fees. In comparison, US applicants only spend around $1,850 to protect their work.

An agreement has been reached among 25 EU states to launch a unified patent using English, French and German as its official languages -- Italy and Spain on the outside, with Rome having lodged a formal complaint at the European Court of Justice.

    And the only thing left to decide is the seat of the patent court -- contested by London, Berlin, Paris and The Hague. EU ambassadors meeting on Thursday to prepare a crucial summit of leaders on June 28-29 were told by EU president Herman Van Rompuy's staff that the bloc's 'Mr Fixit' will table a "fair and rational" proposal in a determined bid to break the impasse on his return from a Group of 20 summit in Mexico on Monday and Tuesday.

(From The Independent Publications)