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Reviewed 6 March 2012

Baroness Wilcox opens first UK WIPO Patents Symposium

Intellectual Property Minister, Baroness Wilcox announced UK's commitment to helping raise the quality and improve the effectiveness of the international patent system by supporting the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Addressing the first ever UK WIPO patents symposium in London, Baroness Wilcox said it was vital for WIPO and its member states to work together closely to reduce the global patent backlog which is costing the global economy billions.

The Symposium provided an opportunity for UK users to engage with WIPO and IPO representatives on ways of making the international patent system, and in particular the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), more effective. The PCT enables businesses to obtain patent protection in up to 144 countries by submitting a single international patent application. It is designed to prevent duplicated patent processing where an applicant wants patent protection for their invention in several countries. Since 2010 businesses have benefited from a PCT(UK) Fast Track service which allows for a faster grant of a UK patent where an international application has been approved under the PCT.

Baroness Wilcox said "It is imperative for patent offices around the world to work together, and break down barriers, to find solutions to improve the international patent system and reduce the worldwide backlog of patent applications. This will help businesses to continue to grow without excessive and needless bureaucracy and red tape."

A Government study has estimated that each year of additional delay in patent processing costs the global economy £7.6 billion. Improving the effectiveness of the PCT is therefore a priority in tackling the problem and the UK is committed to supporting WIPO in its work to improve the system.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said "This symposium is an excellent initiative by the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office. The PCT is the lynchpin of the international patent system. Effective communication between its users and those responsible for its administration is essential, both to ensure that today's system is used as effectively as possible and to help us improve it for tomorrow."

Today's event is the first of its kind in the UK and it is hoped that similar events will take place in the future.

Notes to editors

  • The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is within 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.
  • Its 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.
  • It 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.
  • For further information, please contact Veena Mapara on 0207 215 5614.
  • For emergency media calls out-of-hours please contact the duty press officer at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on +44 (0) 207 215 3505.

Date of release: 6 March 2012

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