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Spain tackles EU over discrimination

Wed 1st Jun 2011

Spain has filed a complaint with the European Court of Justice over claims that the country is discriminated against due to it's language over an EU patent scheme agreed by the other 25 member states.

The Italians have joined Spain in appealing for the decision to be overturned on the grounds of it being unreasonable for EU Patent law to observe 3 languages : English, French and German.

However, the problem that adding a further two languages to the patent procedure would cause is an increase in costs associated with additional translations. This would in effect mean that the cost of taking out a patent in the EU would be considerably higher than in the USA, making it more costly for smaller businesses to do.

By implementing a single EU patent scheme that is operational and recognised across the whole of the EU could save European businesses red tape costs of up to 750 million a year.

"I am confident that the enhanced co-operation procedure presented by the Commission is not discriminatory. We are assured that Italian and Spanish business will suffer no discrimination," The EU's Internal Market Commissioner wrote in a statement. He went on to say how he hoped both Italy and Spain would soon join the rest of EU member states in agreeing to a single patent scheme.

The EU's Ministers for Competition are due to meet in Brussels later this months to try and find a solution to the issue.

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