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EU patent one step closer

The majority of EU member states have agreed to co-operate in granting patents that would cover most of the EU. All member states except Spain and Italy say that they will sign up. The use of an “enhanced co-operation procedure” is considered the only way forward after officials acknowledged that it was impossible to achieve unanimous agreement on an EU-wide patent. Discussions have been under way since 2000, but stalled again in November over disagreements on translation arrangements ( Agrow No 605, p 11). The new system aims to improve on the current expensive procedure of gaining patents in different member states. The latest agreement by EU Ministers was approved by the European Parliament this month. EU Ministers are expected to formally adopt the decision in March, after which the European Commission would submit legislative proposals.

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