Press release

New cooperation arrangement signed with European Patent Office

Boost for businesses and inventors as UK signs new working arrangement with European Patent Office.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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A new working arrangement between the UK and European patent offices which will help UK businesses, was signed today by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO).

The ‘Cooperation plan’ was signed during a meeting between Intellectual Property Minister, Lord Younger; John Alty, Chief Executive of the IPO, and President Benoit Battistelli from the EPO.

The plan outlines a better working relationship between the two organisations and will also allow UK businesses to have increased access to patent information in Europe.

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. I welcome this opportunity for closer cooperation in areas of mutual interest, particularly around patent-related IT services and e-learning tools.

The IPO is a leader when it comes to investing in modern and efficient systems and services for its users. This investment and the cooperation arrangements will in turn help our office to deliver the high quality and timely services that users expect.

The number of European patents granted to UK companies and inventors has increased by 25% over the past five years, and the UK ranked 8th for patent filings at the EPO in 2012. The EPO’s 2013 annual figures will be announced on 6 March at a press conference in Brussels.

The UK is a founding member of the European Patent Organisation, which was set up on 7 October 1977 on the basis of the European Patent Convention signed in Munich in 1973.

Notes to editors

  1. The value of UK creative industries was £71.4 billion in 2012 and accounted for 5.2% of the UK economy. The creative industries accounted for 1.68 million jobs in 2012, 5.6% of the total number of jobs in the UK. Source:Creative industries economic estimates statistical release January 2014 version.

  2. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.’ It set four ambitions in the ‘plan for growth’, published at Budget 2011:
    • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
    • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
    • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
    • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe
  3. Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the growth review. Developing an industrial strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.
Published 4 March 2014