It will be easier for UK businesses to protect their intellectual property across Europe, thanks to the simplification of the EU patent system.
Changes to the rules mean that there will now be a single, unified patent system in force across the 27 European member states, with businesses no longer forced to translate their applications into each of the 23 official EU languages.
Instead, businesses will be able to make applications in just one language. If their application is successful, they will be protected across the EU. Applications need only be presented in English, French, or German.
It is estimated that the new rules will reduce by 80 per cent the cost of a patent applying to all EU countries, with applicants no longer having to foot the bill for translation.
The changes, which are expected to come into force in 2014, will also result in the creation of a single, unitary patent court.
The proposals have been challenged by the Italian and Spanish governments, who suggest that the changes will discriminate in favour of “undertakings which work in German, English, or French.”
The challenge is still to be considered by European judges, but it is understood that it is likely to be rejected.