Parliament outlines language regime for Community patent

April 16, 2002

Brussels, 15 April 2002

The same linguistic arrangement should be used for the Community patent as for the Community trademark, according to the European Parliament, which adopted a report on the issue by Spanish MEP Ana Palacio on 10 April.

The amendment, which means that applications for patents could be made in any of the European Union's official languages, with applicants having to nominate a second 'procedural' language from one of five selected languages (English, French, German, Spanish and Italian). This represents a slight difference from the Commission proposal, that the number of these procedural languages be limited to three (English, French and German).

Ms Palacio's report also addresses the two other areas which have proved contentious in the formulation of a Community patent: juridical arrangements and the role of national patent offices. In relation to the former, the report sets out a recommendation that a decentralised approach should be taken, which differs from the Commission's recommendation that a new Community intellectual property court be established to deal with disputes. National courts should be the first location in patent disputes, with second instance rulings provided by the European chamber of intellectual property, which will be established under the provisions of the Nice Treaty, states the report.

Regarding the role of national patent offices, the Parliament report differs from the Commission's proposal that a strong role should be occupied by the European patent office (EPO) in Munich, Germany. It states that there is a great deal of valuable infrastructure and skills based in these offices, which should not be neglected in establishing the Community patent. This task should be open to those national offices which choose to take it on, under conditions set out by the Commission and the EPO.

MEPs voted for adoption of the report by 256 votes to 187 in favour of the report (with 95 abstentions). The Parliament is however only consulted on the proposal, which needs to be adopted unanimously by the Council of Ministers.

For further information, please consult the following web address:

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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