Brussels, 14 May 2004
The Presidency will seek to achieve political agreement on the Regulation to establish a Community Patent and, if that is reached, approval of the proposal to revise the European Patent Convention in line with the Regulation.
An agreement on the broad outlines of the Regulation was reached in March 2003 (see MEMO/03/47 ) and further progress was made towards overall agreement at the November 2003 Council. However, a small number of points remain outstanding, in particular on requirements for the translation of patents and on how infringements of patents which might arise as a result of mistranslations should be treated. These could not be resolved at the March 2004 Council (see MEMO/04/58 ) and the Presidency will now make another attempt.
Mr Bolkestein will again thank the Presidency for its unstinting efforts. He will remind Ministers that it is no good adopting Resolutions expressing the urgent need to boost EU competitiveness if they are not prepared to go the extra mile to achieve compromises that can achieve that in practice. European industry urgently needs more affordable patents covering the whole Union, if it is to compete better with the US and Japan.
Recent calculations show that the Community Patent will cost no more than a European patent covering five countries. That would represent a cost saving to around two-thirds (68%) of all applicants for European patents, at least 30 000 granted patents a year. For full EU coverage the Community patent would cost only 50% of a European patent for the 25 individual member states a saving of at least €30,000 per patent over 10 years.
In addition to the lower costs, Community Patent holders would benefit from far greater legal certainty, because disputes over interpretation would be heard before a single Community Patent Court with pan-EU jurisdiction (see also IP/04/137 ).
A European Patent can currently be challenged in each and every country in which it is valid, which can give rise not only to uncertainty and potentially divergent interpretations but also to higher costs.
For further details of the benefits that would flow from the introduction of the Community patent and also of the linked proposal to create a pan-EU jurisdiction, see a new set of frequently asked questions at: