Translation breakthrough for Community patent

James Nurton, London


Proposals for a European Community patent could be agreed by the end of this year, if member states approve the latest plans on translation requirements being drafted by EU officials

At the EU Competitiveness Council meeting on May 29 and 30, ministers will discuss a substantive progress report on technical issues prepared by the Commission.

Previous attempts to launch a Community patent, which would provide one unitary right covering all EU member states, have failed due to concerns about language, cost and court proceedings.

The main stumbling block has been the conflict between making patents available in all EU languages (23 at present) and keeping the costs to applicants down.

The latest plans propose to resolve that problem by using machine translations, which are already available for German, Spanish and French at the European Patent Office.

The plans have been discussed at meetings of the EU Council's working party on intellectual property (patents) under the Slovenian Presidency, which runs during the first six months of this year. The most recent meetings were held on April 2 and April 8.


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