Tuesday, December 11, 2012

European Parliament approves European-wide unitary patent; Spain opts out for linguistic reasons (!)

Originally published on Ciu.cat

Tremosa decries Spain's self-exclusion from the agreement and points out that 30% of the State's patents come from Catalonia

40 years after initiating negotiations, 25 Member states of the European Union have achieved the goal of coming to an agreement on creating a unitary European patent that would allow companies and individuals to patent a product in all (or almost all) of the countries in the EU in a uniform fashion. The European Parliament ratified the agreement by a wide margin, with a vote of 484 in favor to 164 against.

In addition to a huge reduction in the necessary bureaucracy, whoever wants to patent a product throughout the EU will see the costs notably reduced. The unitary European patent will reduce the cost by 80%. During the initial transition stage, the cost will fall to 2,380 euros. Once it's finalized, the cost of patenting a product throughout the EU will only be 680 euros.

This unitary European patent, therefore, is a huge step forward in the construction of the common market and will have important benefits for small and medium sized companies, universities, research centers, and citizen inventors.

Spain, however, has decided to exclude itself from the unitary European patent. according to State policy, followed both by Zapatero's PSOE party as well as Rajoy's PP, Spain has decided to stay out of the European unitary patent.

The reason is that Spanish is not considered an official working language, as are German, French, and English, as is normal in community institutions. Nevertheless, this fact would have no effect on citizens of the Spanish state since they would be allowed to present their patent applications written in Spanish. In addition, once these were recognized, they would be automatically translated to all of the EU languages.

Therefore, the Spanish state has refused to sign the agreement because of a linguistic formality, harming thousands of companies and entrepreneurs who base their potential growth on an increase of exports to the EU with value added products. And what is worse, in the vote today in the European Parliament, a large number of Spanish members from the PP and PSOE presented an amendment asking the European Parliament to refuse the creation of the European unitary patent and therefore kill it. They lost that vote 156 in favor to 511 against.

It's important to remember that 30% of the patents awarded in the Spanish State belong to Catalonia and therefore, Spain's self-exclusion greatly harms the interests of Catalan entrepreneurs.

There are also five videos of very short parliamentary speeches between Ramon Tremosa (Catalan MEP), Antonio Lopez-Istúriz White of the PP, and Antonio Masip Hidalgo of the Spain's Socialist Party. (The first two are in English, the remaining ones are in Spanish.)

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgLPNh2NZME&feature=youtu.be

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFEw-JVqYc0&feature=youtu.be

3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLnxrpgcFAs&feature=youtu.be

4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SogbHimLTgw&feature=youtu.be

5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD2DIo28EsY&feature=youtu.be

Also see: European Patent Office welcomes historic agreement on unitary patent

For more information, please contact: Aleix Sarri i Camargo/ Assistant to Ramon Tremosa, +32 489053314 /aleix.sarricamargo@europarl.europa.eu

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