Belgian EU Presidency wants to push for EU-wide patent

The Belgian Presidency will propose bilateral negotations with Member States on an EU-wide patent regulation at the Internal Market Council on 27 September. It hopes to use these negotiations to break the deadlock resulting from differences in interpretation of the common approach agreed in June 2001.

In June 2001 the EU ministers agreed on how to approach the issues of affordability, user responsiveness, legal security, procedural efficiency, simplification and non-discrimination between EU citizens. Since then, there has been disagreement within the Council on the interpretation of the approach. The main issues of the disagreement are:

  • Who will pay for the translation of patents in different languages?
  • Who will receive what percentage of patent fees?


TheCommissionfully supports the Council efforts to come to an agreement on a Community patent. A Commission spokesperson told, however, that it finds the results more important than the exact timeframe by which this result is reached.

To further show the importance it attaches to solving the deadlock on the patent issue, theBelgian Presidencyis organising a conference on community patents at the end of November.

Italy, Portugal and Spainwant patent applications, claims and summaries of future EU patents to be translated into all official EU languages.


The European Commission proposed the creation of an EU wide patent on 5 July 2000. Under the proposed system, companies and inventors would have the choice of either obtaining a single EU-wide patent that is valid throughout the European Union or applying for a national patent via their national patent offices. The Community patent would co-exist with the the national and current European patent systems. The high cost of patenting in Europe is often seen as one of the reasons why Europe is lagging behind the US and Japan in the development of the knowledge-based economy.



  • Council debate on 27 September 2001;
  • Adoption by parliamentary committee expected on 6 November 2001;
  • Final agreement in Council expected on 26 November 2001;
  • European Parliament plenary vote 28 November 2001;
  • Belgian Presidency conference on community patents on 29 November 2001.


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