A single patent system for Europe
It has been a long time coming but the EU has approved a unified European patent scheme allowing inventors and businesses to protect their inventions across Europe (except for Italy and Spain) similar to how trade mark owners can protect their trade mark in 27 European countries using a Community Trade Mark.
The system is expected to be phased in from 2014. This is good news for innovators since it will reduce the cost of protecting intellectual property capable of patent protection in more territories. Commentators have focussed on the costs benefits reporting that the current patent application process in all 27 member states costs about 18 times the amount of a typical US patent and 60 times the cost of a Chinese patent.