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Europe to simplify patent system

BRUSSELS, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Europe's complex and expensive procedures for granting patents for inventions will be simplified under a new system approved by Euro lawmakers, officials said.

Under the plan, a uniform procedure for registering patents in Europe will be adopted by 25 of the European Union's 27 member states, the BBC reported Tuesday.

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Currently, European patents can cost 10 times as much to procure as in the United States because of translation costs, the BBC said.

The new plan, which proposed using only English, French and German for translating patents, is being opposed by Italy and Spain.

Language disputes and the lack of unanimity have blocked efforts to simplify the patent system for a decade.

The European Parliament would launch the new patent system under the EU "enhanced co-operation" procedure, a fast-track mechanism that allows nine or more EU countries to proceed with a measure even if it has not been agreed to by all 27.

New patent legislation is a vital component in the EU's drive to make the single European market function better, officials said.

Emerging economies "are literally breathing down Europe's neck" and the new patents regimen "will be a big part of what is needed by our entrepreneurs," said Sajjad Karim, a member of the EU Parliament.

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