Ending decades-long deadlock, European Union leaders struck a deal, on Friday, to create a single European patent that would make it easier and cheaper for researchers to protect their inventions.
EU President Herman Van Rompuy hailed the agreement, reached during a two-day summit, as a ‘historical breakthrough’ after a compromise was agreed over which country would host the patent court.
In a ‘three-way split’ with Germany and Britain, Paris was awarded the seat for the Unified Patent Court and the president's office, said a spokesman for the Danish presidency of the EU.
London will handle cases in the fields of life sciences, chemistry and human necessities such as agriculture, while Munich will house administrative offices as well as be responsible for advanced engineering and resources efficiency. This will give each city around one-third of patent cases.
The Netherlands dropped out of the running for a seat earlier this month.
At present, companies and inventors must acquire patents in individual EU countries — a process that each time can cost up to 20,000 euro ($25,200), including 14,000 euro in translation fees.
In comparison, U.S. applicants spend only about $1,850 to protect their work.
Despite the breakthrough, and also after a long fight, Spain and Italy will stay out of the EU-wide patent system because English, French and German were chosen as its official languages. This means 25 of 27 EU states will be covered by the system. — AFP