Plans to implement a common system for patents across the EU could be delayed due to a row over the role of the European Court of Justice in the new legal arrangements.
The plans have been in discussion for nearly thirty years, with the main aim of bringing harmony to EU-wide intellectual property law and cut costs. At the moment an EU patent costs around ten times that of one secured in the US due to the cost of translation.
Last week leaders finally reached an agreement, but with a vote in the EU Parliament looming it now appears that the agreement has changed.
The UK Government wants the new patent law to minimise the input of the ECJ. Prime Minister David Cameron believed that he had secured this in negotiations last week which were approved by 25 of the 27 member states.
"The new patent should be redrafted so it is not snarled up in the processes of the European Court of Justice" he said.
Under the proposals, the main division of the new Unified Patent Court will sit in Paris. London will host chemistry and pharmaceuticals, whilst Munich will handle engineering disputes.
The main dispute concerns articles 6-8 of the new legislation, which permit referrals to the ECJ.
"(Articles 6-8) allow referrals to the ECJ, which risks adding delays and uncertainty to what are essentially commercial disputes between private parties" said the UK Intellectual Property Office in a statement to the BBC on the matter.
The main issue is that the law had already been drafted and agreed in Parliament last year. MEPs believe that to change the law at this late stage would be a scandal. However, the amendments to the law look set to be implemented, as a committee of MEPs will sit with legal experts next week to discuss the proposals.