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Language Row Scuppers EU-Wide Patent

Global Glimpses | November 11, 2010

The European Union has failed to agree a new, slimmed down patent system, after a dispute over whether companies should be allowed to apply for a patent in Spanish or Italian scuppered talks.

Michel Barnier, the European commissioner for the internal market, said the failure to agree the creation of an EU-wide patent would have “serious consequences”.

The EU has been trying to reform its patent system for over a decade. Currently, a company that wants to protect its intellectual property across the trading bloc has to apply for a separate patent in each of its 27 member states. This is too expensive, costing companies ten times more than they would pay in the US, Barnier said.

“The absence of a European patent...

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