Business secretary Vince Cable today finalised the deal for a new London-based unified patent court, which he said will deliver a £200m-a-year boost to Britain’s legal sector.
The new court and patent system creates a one-stop shop for pharmaceutical, medical technology, hygiene and chemicals companies wanting to protect their business ideas in Europe.
Companies looking to defend or enforce their patents across Europe will soon 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.
The new court signals the final stage of nearly 40 years of attempts to simplify the EU’s patent regime and bring down the cost of a pan-European patent, currently 10 times that of a US patent.
Paris is to host the new court’s seat and president’s office, while administrative management is to be based in Munich, where mechanical engineering cases are to be heard.
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 (IP) 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.’
TheCityUK chief executive Chris Cummings said: ‘This is recognition of London's global position as the leading centre for legal services excellence and its unparalleled global reputation for the fair, effective and transparent resolution of international legal affairs.’
Philip Westmacott of the Law Society’s IP Working Party said: ‘The UK legal profession has a long tradition of excellence in patents and IP in general, and having this important part of the court in London will help not only to maintain that tradition, but also benefit the new court system.
‘The input of our experienced and well-respected judges will be invaluable too.’