Intellectual Property Office
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Fewer expensive patent translations could save British Business over £10 million a year

Fewer expensive patent translations could save British Business over £10 million a year

UK INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE News Release issued by The Government News Network on 18 October 2007

The London Agreement, which was approved by the French President today, could save British business over £10 million a year, Intellectual Property and Quality Minister Lord Triesman said.

It will come into effect in early 2008 and could halve the translation costs of a typical patent granted by the European Patent Office (EPO).

Lord Triesman said:
"This historic decision by the French government demonstrates its commitment to European innovation. It is a fitting conclusion to work on cost reduction which began at the initiative of the French Government with the Paris Ministerial Conference in 1999 and was taken forward in London in 2000.

The UK has supported this process from the very beginning, and I am very pleased to see it finally bearing fruit. The London Agreement will halve the current cost of translating European patents, making patenting in Europe considerably more affordable. All innovative companies will benefit, and all consumers will benefit from a more innovative and competitive European economy."

Ian Fletcher, Chief Executive of the UK Intellectual Property Office said:
"The simple step of cutting patent translations - translations which were rarely read - will save businesses more than £2,000 for a typical European patent application. This will amount to an estimated £10 million saving for British businesses every year. This is a major saving, particularly for SMEs, and I welcome the decision by the French government which has allowed it to happen."

The Agreement, which has now been approved by 12 European states, will not enter into force until the first day of the fourth month following French ratification. It is expected to enter into force in early 2008.
More information can be found at the Office web page

Notes to Editors:
- In June 1999 the Paris Intergovernmental Conference mandated the Working Party on Cost Reduction to find ways of reducing translation related costs by 50%.
- Agreement on translations was adopted at the second intergovernmental conference in London, October 2000 (hence "London Agreement)".
- Secondary legislation to enable ratification by the UK was approved in 2005. The relevant legislation is the Patents (Translation) Rules 2005 ( Guidance notes can be found at
- On 9 October 2007, the French Senate voted to approve ratification of the London Agreement. This follows approval of the same legislation by the National Assembly on 26 September 2007, and means that the French Parliament has now authorised ratification.
- The Agreement will take force in all countries which have ratified, including the UK, the first day of the fourth month following deposit of the formal instrument of ratification by France.
- More information on the London Agreement can be found on the website of the European Patent Office at
- Institut National De La Propriete Industrielle

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