Italian minister slams three-language EU patent proposal

2nd July 2010, Comments 0 comments

An Italian minister deemed "not acceptable" a European Commission proposal to grant EU patents only in French, German and English in order to rein in costs for companies operating in the EU.

"We are open to a solution based on a single language, English, which would represent a true simplification... and would be politically acceptable," EU affairs minister Andrea Ronchi said in a statement.

Europe's financial services chief Michel Barnier on Thursday presented a proposal for all EU patents to be examined and granted solely in the three languages.

Currently, patent holders need to submit translations of the patents in the language of each EU country they want their patents approved in.

The proposal "will not receive Italy's consent, and I don't think it will just be Italy," Ronchi said, adding that the new system would harm Italian businesses.

The validation of a patent in 13 EU countries can cost as much as 20,000 euros (25,000 dollars) because of translations costing almost 14,000 euros.

"This makes a European patent more than 10 times more expensive than an American patent," the European Commission said in a statement.

The Commission expects the proposal to bring down the translation cost of filing a patent to about 700 euros.

"For Europe to be competitive globally, we need to encourage innovation. That's not the case today - it is far too expensive and complicated to obtain a patent," EU internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier said in a statement.

Under the new proposal, patents can be submitted in other EU languages, but they will then be translated in one of the three legally binding languages.

© 2010 AFP

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