The UK business secretary Vince Cable has finalised a deal to bring a new patent court to London in 2015.
The new ‘Unified Patent Court’ and patent system creates a ‘one-stop shop’ for companies wanting to protect their business ideas in Europe and will bring at least £200 million to the economy each year, according to the UK Government.
This comes after the Prime Minister David Cameron negotiated a deal in Europe last year that means British pharma and life sciences companies looking to defend or enforce their patents across Europe will only need to go to one court once, instead of fighting their case in each European country.
The new court will be up and running from 2015 and is set to offer “significant savings for businesses” while also being “good news for job creation in the legal services sector across the country”, according to the Department of Business, Skills and Innovation.
Commenting on the agreement, Cable said: “The decision that London should host this new court shows not only the confidence in our legal sector but also the strength of the UK’s intellectual property regime. Agreement on a unified patent regime is a good result as it will mean defending a patent across Europe will now be much simpler.
“The agreement will help our inventors who can in future spend more time on research and development, producing new ideas and less time filling in forms and defending their patents in court. We estimate benefits to the UK of around £200 million a year.”
The single patent package also guarantees a one-stop-shop for companies registering new business ideas in the EU. At the moment British inventors can protect their invention either through the UK Intellectual Property Office or, if they are looking for wider protection for a number of countries, by applying to the European Patent Office.
These patents must then be validated in the respective countries bringing in costs for translation and administration. With a new single patent, businesses will make savings of up to £20,000 per patent in translation costs alone and many saved hours of form filling.
Steve Bates, BioIndustry Association’s chief executive, said: “The BIA has long advocated the principles underlying the introduction of a single European Patent which ensures innovative companies can protect their inventions more simply and cheaply. Whilst it will be some time before the full extent to which the new arrangements will deliver these advantages is known, it is vital UK companies understand the implications of these changes for their IP and review the best strategy for them to obtain patent protection for their innovations in Europe.
Bates adds that Britain is a great place to start a biotech business and these new developments means that London not only hosts the Central Division patent court for life sciences, but also the the European Medicines Agency at Canary Wharf – all of which “makes the UK the natural European home for global life science companies”.
This forms part of the UK Government’s plan for life sciences growth, announced in 2011, which is designed to make the UK a global hub for pharma by allowing it to do business more efficiently with less costs. It hopes this will generate greater interest for the industry to come or remain in the country, as it is a major contributor to the economy.