European Union: own single patent plan would end language feud

BRUSSELS—A plan for twelve nations from the 27-member European Union to create their own single patent would help inventors and end a stand-off over languages, the European Union’s executive arm said Tuesday.
Proposals for a single EU patent have been under discussion for over a decade, but member countries reached a stalemate over language rules. Last month, ministers for economics and enterprise failed to reach a compromise on the language, after having agreed last year on how the new system. Twelve EU member states including France, Germany, the U.K., Sweden and the Netherlands then contacted the commission asking to use the “enhanced cooperation” process to forge ahead with a patent.
Typically, unanimity is required on questions relating to multilingualism; previous negotiations stalled because Spain and Italy had wanted to see their languages included.
The latest proposal now needs to be approved by ministers on the basis of a qualified majority rather than unanimity, after the consent of the European Parliament. Next year, the commission will present detailed proposals for implementing enhanced cooperation for unitary patent protection, including translation requirements, it said.
The patent would be examined and granted in English, French or German, and inventions would be protected in all EU countries participating under the enhanced cooperation. Applicants in the EU whose language isn’t English, French or German would have the option to file applications in any other official language of the bloc. The costs for translation into one of the official languages of the European Patent Organization would be eligible for compensation.