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Single European patent: Karim hails major boost for inventors and innovation


11 Dec 2012


Innovation & Enterprise

 New inventions will soon be easier and cheaper to protect from copying thanks to proposals for a European Patent which was finally approved by MEPs in Strasbourg today.

The vote follows an astonishing 30 years of wrangling over detail, but was welcomed by Sajjad Karim, the lead Conservative MEP netotiating the package. He called it "a major advance for the intellectual-property rights of inventors, scientists and others at the cutting edge of technology and innovation".

He said: "It has been a long time coming, but this package of measures should offer reassurance to our brightest and best. It will now be simpler for them to ensure they see the fruits of their work instead of having their ideas exploited by others."

The package approved today will allow 25 out of the 27 EU countries to go ahead with a single patent under a so-called "enhanced co-operation" procedure.

Currently, it is estimated that the cost of registering a patent to cover the whole of the USA is ten times less than one to cover only half of the EU.

So far, 11 countries have signed up to the plan but others are expected to join in due course. One of the main areas of contention has been translation of the patent into various languages once filed. However, the deal agreed will see a patent translated into either English, French or German – thus keeping the costs below that of filing a patent in every EU member state at great cost, particularly to small businesses. Spain and Italy have objectioned on language grounds, however, and say they will not immediately sign up to the proposal.

Mr Karim said: "European-wide patent looked as though it might be one of those great ideas that never got off the ground. But thankfully we have been able to secure a breakthrough and achieve some broad agreement to see the plan progress.

“Small and large businesses will benefit from being able to protect their innovations across much of Europe. That is the encouragement we need for our innovators and entrepreneurs - the people we will rely on to lift Europe's economy out of the doldrums.

"The current fragmented regime has been a major handicap to our competitiveness."

Mr Karim, Conservative spokesman on legal affairs in the European Parliament, was critical of a move by UKIP MEPs to oppose the deal despite never having raised concerns in committee.

He said: "Their spurious charge was that the move meant a loss of sovereignty and even potential damage the UK's legal services sector. Nothing could be further from the truth.

" In fact the deal secured strengthens the UK's role in the legal framework. Rather than eroding sovereignty, the measures guarantee that UK businesses will not have to litigate all across Europe but under a single court system which uses English as one of its main language.

"Because of that we were able to secure secure the location in Britain one of the key divisions of the unitary court system and that will provide important jobs for the UK's widely respected legal services profession and associated services.

"I'd call it a win-win deal, but sadly UKIP are so full of their own bluster they can't see what's best for Britain."



Parliamentary Assistant

Sajjad Karim Conservative MEP - North West of England

Conservative Legal Affairs Spokesman

European Parliament

WIB - 4 M 107

rue Wiertz 60

Brussels - 1047

Tel :-    +32 2 284 7640

Tel :-    +33 3 881 75640 (Strasbourg)

Fax:-    +32 2 284 9640




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