The Channel logo

News

By | Kelly Fiveash 31st December 2010 11:11

UK.gov relaxes patent application process

Enormous backlog to be plopped onto files

The UK government has rejigged the process for filing patents in Europe, which the Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox said would help bring down costs for Blighty's businesses.

From 1 January 2011 anyone supplying paperwork to the European Patent Office (EPO) will be able to do so with fewer documents than had been required in the past.

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

“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 EPO allows companies to make one application for patent protection in up to 40 European countries, but a patent attorney is required to draw up the application.

Wilcox said that reducing duplication would help to clear the worldwide patent application backlog, which the government estimated costs UK businesses alone up to £7.65bn each year.

“The quicker we deal with patent applications, the quicker firms can bring the latest innovations to the consumer,” she said.

Under the relaxed arrangements, UK applicants will no longer be required to supply the EPO with the results of searches already carried out by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

It's expected that around 5,000 applications a year will benefit from the IPO automatically supplying the information from its records, the government said.

Earlier this month five advisers were appointed to Ian Hargreaves' review into intellectual property growth. One of which was Scottish legal academic James Boyle, founding board member of Creative Commons, and co-author of two provocative comic books. ®

comment icon Read 11 comments on this article alert Send corrections

Opinion

Walking on water, image via Shutterstock

Chris Mellor

IDC stats reveal who's who in the backup appliance bearpit
Carry on Cleo

Gavin Clarke

Infamy, infamy, Amazon and Microsoft have all got it in for me!

Tim Anderson

Also signals stronger cross-platform tools, access to new markets

Features

Nerd fail photo via Shutterstock
Shouting match
Single market vs. rest of the world
hacker
Mostly it's financial crime. Here's what all the cool kids' terms mean in English
Apple logo. Pic: Blake Patterson
Plenty of bumps in the 40-year road for Mac makers