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Chair of European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee supports creation of single European patent

February 15, 2011 12:58 PM

Lib Dem Euro MP for Southeast England, Sharon Bowles MEP, who chairs the European Parliament's influential Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, today voted for 'enhanced cooperation' on the issue of a single European patent and welcomed the Parliament's resounding approval for that proposition.

A European patent that covers the whole of the single market rather than the current system which requires patents to be registered in European countries separately and at greater cost has been on the table for a long time.

However, while the creation of a single European patent has gained support in the European Parliament, the issue of language has become a sticking point for some countries, including Spain and Italy, who do not want the official languages of the proposed single European patent to be English, French and German.

Sharon Bowles MEP, who is the European Parliament's only patent attorney, said:

"It is a benefit for the UK to be a part of enhanced cooperation on this issue, so that UK business gets the best possible deal.

"A single European patent would be good for UK industry, particularly for Research and Development, as it would reduce costs.

"We are awaiting a decision from the European Court of Justice concerning its role in interpretation. However, I do not see any reason for that to cause the UK to change its mind and opt-out. There are already references to the ECJ in other areas of intellectual property, notably trademarks and designs. Not to be in the system would be immensely damaging to UK industry."