;   Medical Translation Insight: Translation is biggest obstacle to EU-wide patents - ForeignExchange Translations

Translation is biggest obstacle to EU-wide patentsLast week, the European Union Council agreed on a roadmap [PDF link] towards a single European patent system. The regime is seen as key to making patenting less expensive and more efficient for European inventors.

But the devil, as always, is in the details. And one of the main "details" is the language regime for an EU patent. As in the past, discussions have stumbled over which of the EU's 23 languages should be the official language for the patent system.

Currently, the closest thing to an EU-wide patent is provided by the European Patent Office, which isn't part of the EU. Once the office issues the patent it breaks up into a bundle of national patents, forcing companies to defend them individually in each country, which can cost as much as half a million euros in a typical case but the translation costs for long and complex cases are potentially enormous.

Sweden holds the rotating six-month EU presidency until the end of this year. So, its promise that "[the] translation issue will be resolved in a special regulation" will be lived up to (or not) on somebody else's watch.

[Hat tip to @tomedes]


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