By Chris Smith, European Plastics News
Brussels -- The Council of the European Union has formally adopted a package of recommendations that are intended to see the creation of a single EU-wide patent and EU patent court. The changes are intended to make it more simple and less costly for businesses to protect innovative technology. It is also hoped that they will maker litigation more accessible and predictable.
Günter Verheugen, commissioner for enterprise and industry, said: "Making patenting less costly and more efficient was very high on the policy agenda since many years… since it is a precondition for fostering innovation and competitiveness."
While there are still a number of issues to be resolved before this enhanced patent system can be put in place, it is being described by officials as a political breakthrough on the path to creating a true single market for patents.
A key element in the revised structure will be eliminating the need for parties to litigate in parallel within the EU. It is estimated this could reduce patent litigation costs for European businesses by up to Euro 289 million ($424.9 million) a year.
The new court structure will include local and central chambers under a common appeal court.
EU ministers have also agreed an approach on an EU Patent Regulation, which has been stalled since 2004. A common understanding is said to have now been reached on renewal fees and cooperation between patent offices.