Patent bodies sign up to business booster - Palmers Solicitors

Patent bodies sign up to business booster

A new deal designed to help “creative and innovative” UK businesses has been signed by the UK and European patent offices.

The co-operation agreement is designed to support a better working relationship between the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and European Patent Office (EPO) and will give UK businesses increased access to patent information in Europe.

The number of European patents granted to UK companies and inventors has increased by 25 per cent over the past five years, with the UK now ranked eighth for patent filings at the EPO in 2013. Figures released on 6 March showed that there were almost 4,600 patent applications at the EPO originating in the UK, a similar figure to the previous year.

Announcing the signing of the agreement in London on 4 March, Minister for Intellectual Property Lord Younger said: “The fact that we have seen a rise in complex patent applications just goes to show that the UK is once again a nation of inventors.

“Our businesses with a creative and innovative approach are thriving and this agreement is a boost for expanding and marketing their ideas and products into the European market.”

EPO president Benoît Battistelli said: “This collaboration between the UK and the EPO will benefit all users of the patent system.”

A key part of the new agreement is to make patent information more accessible to companies and researchers in the UK and across Europe, which the EPO and IPO say will help businesses explore technology trends, find technology partners and suppliers and decide if they should invest in developing a new technology, or license-in an existing solution.

The EPO’s Espacenet is one of the biggest free patent databases online, containing more than 85 million documents from around the world.

Businesses that come up with bright ideas and develop new products or technology need to ensure they protect their intellectual property rights, to prevent others benefiting from their innovations.

Intellectual property protection will also enable them to maximise the value of licensing arrangements. For more information, please visit our website or contact BJ Chong.