09 MAR 2011
By Andrew Willis
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission and Hungarian EU presidency remained brave-faced on Tuesday (8 March), after the European Court of Justice dealt a blow to region's hopes of quickly establishing a single European patent system.
The bloc has adopted a two-pronged approach so far: aiming firstly to replace a costly system of multiple national patents by a single European patent; coupled with a new European patent court to resolve related legal challenges.
But the patent court hit a stumbling block on Tuesday after the ECJ said it would result in a significant transfer of power from member states to a new institution outside the EU system.
"The agreement would alter the essential character of the powers conferred on the institutions of the European Union and on the member states," ruled the ECJ judges.
With EU ministers meeting in Brussels this Thursday expected to give the go-ahead for the creation of a European patent, the commission was quick to stress that progress on this track would still continue as anticipated.
"Now that the opinion is available, the commission will analyse it very carefully with a view to identifying appropriate solutions," it said in a statement.
Italy and Spain oppose the EU patent idea, fearing its English, French or German language requirement could disadvantage their national businesses. Keen to press ahead however, the remaining 25 member states are expected to authorise a process of 'enhanced co-operation' later this week.
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