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Businesses and academics would oppose any watering down of the patent examination process, a new report has found.

Quick, cheap and easy patents would be rejected if it meant the quality of patent protection would be lowered, the Financial Times reports.

The research was conducted for intellectual property law firm Marks & Clerk in the run up to the publication of the Gower report - a Treasury-commissioned review of the UK's intellectual property laws.

The researchers questioned 300 business people and academics. It found that 84 per cent said thorough examination of patent applications was more important than the speed with which a patent was awarded or an application rejected.

Those surveyed also saw patents as much more of an international issue than in the past . The FT notes that "most" IP owners now want Europe-wide IP protection, rather than merely seeking protection on a country by country basis.

This would suggest widespread support for the notion of a pan-European patent - something currently being considered in Europe.

The vast majority of those questioned also thought European intervention would result in a drop in the cost of enforcing IP rights on a pan-European basis. This directly contradicts the widely held view that the proposed pan-European patent litigation agreement, for example, would actually increase the costs of doing just that. ®

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