Internal Market Ministers failed to lift the deadlock over the community patent during their extraordinary Council on 20 December. The proposal for an EU-wide patent has been blocked because of the Member States’ struggling over the linguistic arrangements of the Commission’s proposals.
The Laeken Summit called for this special internal market ministers session in order to reach an agreement on the community patent before the end of 2001.
The ministers could not agree on a new compromise put forward by the Belgian Presidency. Under this new proposal, an applicant for a patent would be able to choose whether the claims should be issued in either English, French or German, plus the applicant’s mother tongue. A summary would be published in all 11 EU languages.
Although some countries softened their positions and seemed to be willing to follow the Belgian proposal, France, Germany and Portugal refused to give in to the compromise.