Competitiveness Council has achieved a breakthrough in the matter of unitary patent, at its extraordinary meeting on 27 June 2011. On the basis of the Hungarian Presidency’s compromise proposal, political agreement has been reached on the two regulations that are necessary for an enhanced cooperation in the area of unitary patent protection. Therefore, negotiations can start with the European Parliament.
„Today's discussions send a clear signal to our economic operators and citizens, that the EU is able to deliver on a topic of such crucial importance for European innovation and competitiveness,” said Zoltán Cséfalvay, Minister of State for Strategy of the Ministry of National Economy, during the public deliberation of the Competitiveness Council’s extraordinary meeting, in Luxembourg. The sole purpose of the Ministerial meeting was to accept a general approach, on the basis that the Council can start negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Commission, concerning the first-reading acceptance of a regulation to implement enhanced cooperation in the creation of unitary patent protection; and to establish the applicable language regime.
The Council approved the Presidency’s compromise proposal, therefore laying down the key pillars of unitary patent protection and of its language regime. During the debate, Mr Cséfalvay highlighted: due to the inefficient, fragmented patent system, creative enterprises carry the burden of such expenses that may well be considered innovation tax. Removing this innovation tax should provide a tangible boost to the economy without any negative budgetary consequences. This is especially true for innovative small and medium-size enterprises, he added.
The Minister of State recalled that the Council decided last March, to authorise the 25 participating Member States to establish the first ever enhanced cooperation in the area of the single market. Following up to this Council decision, the Commission submitted in April, two proposals aimed at implementing the envisaged enhanced cooperation.
The Minister of State’s opinion was that the results of the Council’s debate confirmed that “the Presidency was able to seize the opportunity and – thanked in part, to the Belgian presidency and the Commission’s quick and good work – we even went further than most people thought was possible in a mere 6 months period.”
Mr Cséfalvay stressed that even though he would have been more satisfied, if all 27 Member States had participated in the cooperation, it was still good news that the cooperation remained open for those who wished to join in.
As regards to the unified patent litigation system, the other fundamental pillar of the patent reform, negotiations will be resumed, Mr Cséfalvay underlined. „I believe that prompt results can be achieved,” he added.
Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier thanked the Presidency for its work. Hungarians “have not only managed to put the enhanced cooperation on track in March, but have also brokered this major political agreement among the Member States,” he said.
The EU Commissioner reminded participants that creating a simpler and more accessible patent system was a top priority of the Single Market Act. “Today, I am more convinced than ever that this will become a reality in the near future,” Barnier pointed out.
The Commissioner was glad to find that the participating 25 Member States had come to an agreement on patent translation requirements, which means the decade-old obstacle in the way of creating a unitary patent system has been removed.
The extraordinary Competitiveness Council will focus on the general approach to be reached concerning the Regulation on the creation of unitary patent protection.
Location: FIL Conference Centre
Address: Luxemburg 1734 Luxembourg, 5 rue Carlo Hemmer
The Competitiveness Council gave the green light for a group of 25 Member States on its 10 March 2011 session to create a unitary patent protection system, an issue unresolved for nearly half a century, in form of a so-called enhanced cooperation. Since, the Hungarian Presidency has kept the momentum and worked to fulfill the enhanced cooperation with content by discussing the relevant legislative proposals.