The EU's 27 national ministers in charge of competitiveness issues failed to reach agreement on the common EU patent last week due to a split on the location of the Court's seat. London, Munich and Paris are still vying to host the seat of the upcoming agency.
Guy Verhofstadt, the president of the liberals and democats group in the European Parliament described the ongoing squabble as “a scandal”.
He recommended that “a provisional seat [be set up] in Brussels, pending a definitive agreement, as happened in 2001 when the Food Agency was disputed by Italy and Finland.”
Danish sources said that “all options” would be on the table in bilateral discussions with France, Germany and the UK, but reminded that agreement would require the backing of all the member states.
They said they were hopeful rather than confident that a deal could be struck.
On March 11 2011, ministers from 25 member states decided to go ahead with plans to introduce a common system for registering patents, without Spain and Italy, which opposed the proposed language regime.
The Italians and Spanish were afraid that such an approach would give an unfair advantage to companies based in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the three official languages chosen for the regime.
The 25 agreed to use the so-called 'enhanced co-operation' mechanism, which allows a group of at least nine EU countries to adopt new common rules among themselves, in areas where an EU-wide agreement cannot be reached.
The issue is agreed on all points, except for the issue of the seat of the court.
The last chance to find agreement will be at the summit of the heads of state and government, scheduled to take place on 28 and 29 June.