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Reviewed 13 December 2012

European Parliament approves the unitary patent package

The European Parliament voted to approve the unitary patent package, following endorsement by the Council of Ministers earlier this week. This is an important step in delivering a unified patent system within Europe and placing UK businesses on a more equal footing with global competitors.

The new patent regime gives businesses the option to protect their inventions across all 25 participating states through a single application administered by one organisation and could save them up to £20,000 per patent in translation costs alone. It will mean a new unified patent court, so that litigation relating to unified patents will take place only once for 26 countries, providing further significant cost savings.

Sean Dennehey, Chief Executive of the IPO commented:

"This decision culminates decades of discussion. The UK government has played an important role in securing this agreement which opens the way to having a share of the unified patent court based in London. This package will provide businesses with a further option for patenting across Europe and secure legal services jobs within the UK."

Following intervention by the Prime Minister at last June's European Council, part of the Central Division of the Patent Court will be in London and will deal with all cases in the key pharmaceutical and life sciences sector, securing highly skilled jobs for the UK.

Notes to editors

  1. Next Steps: The unified patent court agreement is intended to be signed early next year. IPO will lead UK implementation of the court and patent package, and work internationally to bring the package in to operation with other signatory states.
  2. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
  3. The IPO's role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.
  4. The IPO operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.
  5. BIS's online newsroom External Link contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts.

Date of release: 13 December 2012