The UK government has written to the European Union's internal market commissioner Michel Barnier expressing its desire for the creation of a single pan-European patent license to be considered again.
Talks on the issue reached an impasse in November and so the department for business, skills and innovation (BIS) has sent a letter signed by Baroness Wilcox asking for the commission to consider an "enhanced cooperation" proposal.
This gives those states that wish to forge ahead with the creation and implementation of a single system the right to do so without complete agreement from all other member states, in order to help drive technological innovation across the region.
A spokesperson for the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) confirmed the letter had been sent and argued that the creation of a single-license system would provide benefits even if it was not backed by all member states.
"We are disappointed that agreement among all 27 EU states cannot be achieved, but the UK supports the use of enhanced cooperation if it achieves these benefits," they said.
"A unitary patent covering many member states, but not the whole EU can still benefit innovative businesses and the European economy."
A spokesperson for Barnier confirmed the office had received the letter and that the issue will be discussed at tomorrow's competitiveness council.
It follows a letter sent to the office by ten other EU nations (PDF) earlier this week urging the same enhanced cooperation proposal from governments in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden.
However, both Spain and Italy raised concerns with this approach, arguing that more time was needed (PDF) to try and reach a full consensus on the issue or risk reducing the chance of a single-system ever being created.
"The possibility raised of launching enhanced cooperation constitutes an initiative that […] runs the risk of widening the gap between EU members and preventing an EU-wide agreement on an issue of such strategic significance," it said.
Nevertheless, John Collins, a partner at intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk, welcomed the renewed calls for a single patent, arguing it is a vital development for the long-term future of the region in order to compete with the US.
"The overdue-creation of a unified system – as works so well for trade marks - would provide a welcome boost for R&D-led industries across Europe, not least in the UK, as we seek to shift our economy towards hi-tech research and manufacturing," he said.
"A unified European patent would, in the long run, make vast cost savings, ensure consistency and encourage R&D-heavy industries to take root and flourish in the European market."
Collins mentioned too that such a system would make the government's recently announced 'patent box' proposal more effective, as a more straightforward patent system would encourage more companies to enter the UK market in the first place.
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