Ministers from 25 EU member states have decided to forge ahead with plans to introduce a common system for registering patents. The move, according to the European Commission, could achieve annual savings of more than E700 million, not to mention eliminating plenty of legal headaches. With the exception of Italy and Spain, all EU member states have agreed to enhanced cooperation in the field of patents. Detailed measures for establishing a unitary patent title, as the European patent is called in legal jargon, and translation arrangements have passed the European Council and are now awaiting approval by the European Parliament. Observers say a final political agreement could be reached by the end of this year, paving the way for a common European patent, granted by the European Patent Office, to become reality as early as 2013.
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