Patent laws will be reformed to streamline the application process for businesses in the EU, in an agreement to be signed tomorrow by Vince Cable. Currently UK businesses must go through the lengthy process of registering their idea separately in each of the EU member states at a cost of approximately £20,000. Under the new rules applicants will only need to register once, at a much-reduced cost of £600, to receive EU-wide patent recognition. It also means that patent disputes can be settled in one court, rather than in separate cases in each country.
It is hoped that by reducing the bureaucratic and financial barriers surrounding patents, companies will be encouraged to invest in economy-boosting research and innovation projects, with particular benefits for SMEs and pharmaceutical companies.