Creation of common EU patent system faces legal setback

An opinion from the European Court of Justice could be a blow to IT innovators

The European Court of Justice looks set to derail plans for a common patent system across the European Union. The court's Advocate General believes that a centralized patent is "incompatible with the treaties" that created the E.U., according to a leaked document.

The news could have a knock-on effect for the IT companies responsible for a large number of patent applications. Computer-based inventions have had the highest growth rate among all patent categories presented to the European Patent Office (EPO) over the past few years.

European businesses have long campaigned for a single E.U. approach, which they say would encourage innovation. The current system of filing patents in each separate jurisdiction is expensive and impractical, in particular for small firms.

As well as indicating that the proposed centralized patent system might not comply with E.U. law, the opinion also expressed concern about implementation, and in particular the respect of a newly created patent court (PC) for existing laws.

"One should therefore not rule out the possibility that the future PC will ignore some of the principles and provisions of Union law or that it will not take them into account sufficiently when resolving disputes between individuals concerning patents. This fear is only reinforced by the fact that the provisions of the draft agreement on the training of judges of the future PC do not contain any reference to Union law," said a draft of a statement of position from the advocates general, seen by IDG News Service in English translation of a French original.

Until the latest leak, the question of the language of patent filings and their translation into other languages had been seen as the biggest stumbling block. The European Commission attempted to resolve this issue last month, but the proposal for a compromise language regime was also criticized by the Advocate General.

The leaked opinion is a non-binding document, but with the court due to give its formal decision before the end of the year, concerns that the proposed unified patent litigation system is incompatible with E.U. treaties could put an end to the plans once and for all.

The court's opinion is bad news for the Commission, as a streamlined patent system was expected to be a cornerstone of a new innovation strategy to be published next month.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags regulationlegalpatentsintellectual propertyeuropean commission

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?