QMT News: May 2008
Businesses see cost of patent protection fall up to 40% in Europe

On May 1st, a major change came into effect that promises significant savings in the cost of obtaining patent protection in Europe.

The move has been welcomed by small and large businesses alike and it is predicted that more innovators will now be encouraged to secure patent rights across the continent.

This change in patent procedure results from the long-awaited London Agreement finally coming into effect following ratification by France. It is estimated that the Agreement will bring down the cost of obtaining patents granted under the European Patent Convention (EPC) by as much as 40 per cent, by removing the provisions that had previously required patent owners to supply numerous translations for the various states in which they wished to secure protection.

Under the EPC, patents are granted in one of three official languages: English, French and German.  Whereas each state previously required the often lengthy patent document to be translated into its national language, the London Agreement abolishes this for the countries that have signed up.

The key markets of Germany, France and the UK will now accept the patent exactly as granted by the European Patent Office. The others will only require the monopoly-defining part of the document to be translated into their national language. The bulk of the document will be accepted if translated into a specified one of the EPC’s three official languages (typically English). Full translation will continue to be required in countries that are not party to the Agreement. 


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