02/03/2011 05:53 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Is Standardization Progress? An EU Patent

With the push for reform of the patent system in the United States, news regarding a unified patent system for the European Union garners a mixed response from those concerned with intellectual property protections.

The advantages are obvious: navigating through the diverse milieu of countries to obtain patent protection is currently overwhelming. A unified system would serve to streamline this process, making it easier perhaps for European, as well as foreign inventors, to utilize the system.

The "European Union Patent" would provide for a unified system of protection for any country with a single application. Currently, the proposal is being discussed by members of the European Union and the European Parliament. This patent unification is part of the EU Innovation Union effort, with the goal of positioning the Union to compete with other global powerhouses where systems of intellectual property protection have proven economically fruitful, including the United States.

The discussion of an "EU patent" renews again tomorrow, February 4, during a summit in Brussels. Standing in the way of the patent may be the European Court of Justice, whose upcoming ruling on the matter may bring the whole project to a halt. Along with the legal concerns, four countries, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Italy and Spain, currently oppose the EU patent and could be left out of this unified regime.