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December 12, 2012

European parliament approves new unified patent regime

Spain and Italy oppose the regime as their languages were not mentioned

By CBR Staff Writer

The European parliament has approved a unified patent regime which is expected to reduce the administrative cost of an EU patent by about 80%.

Parliament approved three proposed regulations which include the regulation on a unitary patent, the language regime and the formation of a new unified patent court system which will be applicable across 25 countries.

Patents will be made available in English, French and German and applications will have to be submitted in any of the three languages.

Bernhard Rapkay, the lead MEP on the regulation setting up a unitary patent protection system, said: "Intellectual property must not stop at borders. The path towards the introduction of the EU patent was long and troubled, but ultimately it has been worth the effort."

"Today’s vote is good news for EU economy and especially for European small and medium enterprises (SMEs)," Rapkay added.

Parliament said the new patent will be cheaper and effective than current systems in protecting the inventions of individuals and firms as well as offer automatic unitary patent protection in all 25 participating member states.

The new patent regime covers all the European Union nations except Italy and Spain which are expected to joint at any time.

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Majority of the member countries’ parliaments including the UK, France and Germany should approve the plan for it to be implemented on 1 January 2014.

The European Commission (EC) said when the new system is up to speed, an EU patent may cost just €4,725, compared to an average existing cost of €36,000.

Recently, EC has agreed to modernise copyright rules and regulations in the digital economy by adopting a two tiered workplan to address the issues over the next year and a half.

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