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Small firms to get ‘better protection’ with new patents bill

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Small businesses should soon be provided with better protection for their ideas under a new Patents Bill, the government has announced.

Ministers said the Bill will give small firms greater ability to enforce patent rights and will boost innovation.

The new Bill will:

  • Enable the Patents Office to provide an independent non-binding opinion on patent validity to settle disputes without conflicting firms to go through damaging court cases.

  • Bring UK patent law into line with European rules to allow British companies to operate more effectively on the continent.
  • Modify existing protection for alleged infringers to encourage more out-of-court settlements.

    A survey by British Gas last year found that a massive 79 per cent of small firms had no idea how to patent their work.

    Lord Sainsbury, minister for science and innovation, welcomed the new Bill.

    “The government is committed to improving the environment necessary to support and encourage innovation.

    “Effective, flexible and up-to-date patent law is essential to help businesses turn bright ideas into successful products and processes,” he said.

    Copyright © 2004,

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