Council notes progress on Community Patent regulation

The Competitiveness Council of 22 September concluded that the long-discussed proposal for a Regulation creating a Community Patent is making relatively good progress, with a political agreement foreseen by 10 November 2003.

The aim of the Community Patent is to give inventors the option of obtaining a single patent that is legally valid throughout the EU through a simple and cheap mechanism. Currently, patent protection in several European countries is a time-consuming process that may cost as much as 50,000 euro, around five times the price in the US or Japan (see alsoEURACTIV 4 March 2003). The proposed Regulation would halve these costs and make patents valid in all 25 Member States. The patents would be granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich. The current system, which rests on the 1973 Convention on the European Patent, requires applicants to validate their patents in each country where they wish to secure protection for their invention. As requested by Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, the ministers' compromise text should be backed up by a political agreement to be reached by the next Council meeting on 10 November. A review conference is scheduled for 2004.


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