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UK Welcomes Streamlined European Patents

by Robin Pilgrim,, London

05 January 2011

The UK's Intellectual Property Minister Judith Wilcox has welcomed new arrangements for patent filing in the European Union, which will cut costs for businesses in the United Kingdom.

With effect from January 1, 2011, those filing patents with the European Patents Office (EPO) will be required to file fewer supporting documents than before, saving companies money paid in fees to agents and cutting down the time taken to organize an application.

Welcoming the new system, Wilcox stated:

“Reducing the burden of bureaucracy saves businesses time and money. It is essential in creating the conditions for businesses to grow and prosper.”

“These new arrangements will make it cheaper and easier for UK firms to obtain patent protection as they look to expand into other European countries.”

“The UK has been campaigning for greater work sharing like this and I am pleased to see this latest development.”

“Cutting duplication is key to dealing with the worldwide backlog of patent applications. The quicker we deal with patent applications, the quicker firms can bring the latest innovations to the consumer.”

The EPO enables companies to make one application for patent protection in up to 40 European countries rather than making separate applications in each country. Individuals cannot make their own applications to the EPO so companies must engage a patent attorney to do it for them.

The new arrangements mean applicants will no longer have to supply the EPO with the results of searches already done by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). Instead the IPO will automatically supply the information from its records and around 5,000 applications a year will benefit from this change.

This will mean less bureaucracy and costs for business while also improving efficiency at the EPO. According to Wilcox, it will also help tackle the major international backlog of patent applications.

It is estimated the patent backlog costs businesses as much as GBP7.65bn (USD11.8bn) each year.

TAGS: business | patents | law | intellectual property | United Kingdom | fees | patent search | European Union (EU) | Europe

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