MEPs ask to delay decision on accession to patent agreement

October 16, 2006

Brussels, 13 October 2006

MEPs have voted to postpone a decision on whether or not to approve the Community's accession to the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA), calling for revisions to the Agreement's text.

The debate on how best to improve the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) in the EU has been underway for many years. The Commission has sought several times to introduce a Community Patent, but this has so far been blocked by the Council, the main hurdle being the language in which a patent can be filed.

Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has therefore proposed acceding to the EPLA, which would introduce a European patent Court with jurisdiction to deal with infringement concerning European patents. The court would be able to rule on patents in all EU Member States.

Most MEPs do not object to the idea of the EPLA, but are concerned by an apparent lack of democratic control over the procedures for granting a patent. The Parliament has therefore requested advice from its legal service on the ramifications of accession.

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