Fabian Demicoli

EU Patents: SMEs warmly welcome hallmark proposal on translation arrangements

GRTU warmly welcomed the proposal on translation arrangements for the future Community patent presented by the European Commission at the end of last week. The Commission's suggestion was made to build on the official languages of the European Patent Office for filing patent requests, while reimbursing applicants for the costs of translation from another idiom into an official EPO language and providing machine translation for all other EU languages if need be, the results of which must be of high quality.

This will dramatically reduce filing and translation costs and provide innovative SMEs in Europe with a cost-effective method to protect their intellectual property rights. Secretary General Andrea Benassi offered the following comments:

The proposal by the European Commission will succeed to reduce the number of languages and has the potential to inject new momentum into the Community patent. The system proposed by Commissioner Barnier will dramatically reduce translation costs, which are often more than half of the total expenses when applying for a patent, while ensuring the possibility of submitting patent requests in all the official EU languages. Reduced costs will be particularly beneficial for innovative SMEs, which have been hampered for too long by excessive filing expenses. More affordable patents will act as a driver for innovation and foster competitiveness in the single market and beyond. This will allow Europe to catch up on R&D and innovation with its international competitors.

Europe cannot afford any longer a single market in which the same invention is subject to up to 27 different legal systems. The Belgian Presidency, which started on the same day of the Commission proposal, has all the elements on the table to put an end to this dysfunctional system. We trust that it will work to do so as of today.

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