Political agreement on community patent expected by May 2003, says Deniozos

February 20, 2003

Brussels, 19 Feb 2003

The new compromise by the Greek presidency on the community patent should result in a political agreement by no later than May 2003, Dimitris Deniozos, the Greek General Secretary for research and development has told CORDIS News

The compromise, which is mainly concerned with providing for a single judicial system, was presented by the Greek Presidency to the committee of member states' permanent representatives to the EU (COREPER) on 12 February.

Speaking to CORDIS News, Mr Deniozos outlined the main elements of the Greek Presidency compromise.

'We are mainly concerned by addressing the issues surrounding the judicial system for a community patent [...]. The role of national patent offices, distribution of fees and the languages have more or less been managed by previous presidencies.'

Mt Deniozos said that there are two opposing positions concerning the Commission proposal on a judicial system for a community patent. While some Member States support the idea of having a single court to hear patent cases, others are calling for the establishment of regional chambers or decentralised judicial units.

Within the framework drawn up by the Greek Presidency, one court based in Luxembourg would be established to ensure uniformity in case law. However, regional representation would be taken into account. 'If Member States want to establish a decentralised chamber, they can do so, but they would be responsible for finding a suitable location as well as covering operational costs,' said Mr Deniozos.

Mr Deniozos continued by saying that 'by making judges mobile, they could rule in actions within Member States but still belong to the same central judicial system.'

According to Mr Deniozos, additional items were addressed during the meeting with COREPER. In particular, the compromise specified that while patent requests should only be translated into three working languages of the EU, claims should be available in all of the EU's official languages.

Another element supported was the central role played by the European Patent Office (EPO) in the management of community patents. Those wishing to file a patent would be entitled to do so within their own country or through the EPO.

Mr Deniozos told CORDIS News that COREPER would meet again to review the compromise and to ask the opinion of the Court of Justice on 19 February. By 26 February, COREPER is expected to close the matter in preparation for the Competitiveness Council meeting on 3 March.

'There are small items to clear up [....] but the encouraging thing is [Member States] agree on the main premise of the agreement,' concluded Mr Deniozos.

For further information on the R&D activities of the Greek Presidency, please visit:

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities

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