Parliament gives final nod to EU patent

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The European Union took a step closer to an EU-wide patent yesterday (11 December) with lawmakers voting to cut the cost of protecting inventions and a top advisor to Europe's highest court rejecting a challenge to the new scheme.

Twenty-five of the EU's 27 industry ministers agreed on Monday to allow inventors to register their idea with one EU agency, signing off on a project first put forward in 1973 but which was delayed by a series of disputes, including over where to site the new patent office.

The European Parliament voted yesterday in favour of the plan which will see a common patent in place on 1 January 2014, if the judges in the highest EU court dismiss objections by Spain and Italy when they make a definitive ruling next year.

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