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Reviewed 30 November 2008

Patent law changes will help businesses reap economic benefit - Lord Triesman

New changes to UK Patent law will make the patent system clearer and more flexible for business, Intellectual Property and Quality Minister Lord Triesman said today.

Welcoming the European Patent Convention 2000 (EPC 2000) changes that ensure consistency between UK and European patent law, which come into force today, Lord Triesman said:

"This is the first Europe-wide reform of patent law for thirty years, and I am delighted that it has come to fruition. The modernized and updated law will better enable businesses in the UK and in Europe to deliver economic benefit from their inventions."

Ian Fletcher, CEO of the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) said

"This new European patent law is a welcome modernization which offers business greater certainty and flexibility, and as such will be a boost for innovation in the UK."

This revision includes changes to post grant amendment of patents which will allow UK business more options and flexibility when amending patents giving greater choice in disputes over patent rights.

The law has been clarified and updated for inventions relating to methods of treatment or diagnosis. The revision makes it much clearer that such methods are not patentable and puts on a firmer legal footing patent protection for known substances for which a new medical use is found. A new medical use for a known drug, for example, is more clearly patentable.

In addition rules on the effect of European patent applications on the novelty of other inventions are simplified. Any published European patent application may now be used to show that an invention is not new, giving a Europe wide uniform effect of European patents on novelty of invention.

Editors notes:

  • More information on EPC 2000 revision can be found on the EPO website External Link.
  • A patent protects new inventions and covers how things work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made. It gives the owner the right to prevent others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without permission.

Date of release: 13 December 2007

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