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Labour Party Minister Dr Kim Howells said today that the UK will abolish fees for patent applications and cut down on the cost of services by 20 per cent. Dr Howells is the UK minister of competition and consumer affairs, succeeding Nigel Griffiths after the latest Cabinet reshuffle in midsummer. On a visit to the HQ of the Patent Office, based in Wales, Howells said he wanted to bring "patents to the people" by cutting costs. That, he said, was because the Labour government was committed to innovation and creativity as a source of new wealth in society. Patent rights cover everything from performing rights to bio-technology, he continued. He said the UK Patent Office had the "vital task" of making intellectual property more accessible. "These rights are business rights and it is important businesses secure their assets by identifying and asserting their copyright and registering patents, designs and trade marks," he added. The Patent Office is an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, whose minister is Peter Mandelson. * TradeMarkOid 001: ® is a ™ trade mark of The Register, which is © The Register 1994-1998. All rights reserved. No copies, blah blah blah...

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