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New UK and China Free Trade Agreement allows faster Patent protection

Written by Daniel Selby, an under-graduate student of Law on 31 January 2014

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David Cameron’s EU/UK effort for negotiations for free trade with China appears to be finally paying off, as part of the negotiations, UK and E.U. business’s may soon benefit from faster patent protection in China, the process is often referred to as the ‘Patent Protection Highway’.

The concept (in the UK) started with Japan and the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) as a pilot programme in 2007 and has enjoyed permanent effect since 2010. The U.S. (USPTO), Korea(KIPO), Canada (CIPO) and the German Patents and Trade Mark offices (DPMA) signed on indefinitely between 2007 and last year but no permanent contracts yet.

The concept is straight forward if an examination has been carried out in one country and the patent is successful, the business may then request accelerated examination for the same patent in another country provided they are participating between each other. This in-turn allows firms to take swifter action against infringers and provides more confidence for investment in countries other than the E.U. where IP is protected under one roof.

IP infringement in China according to the UK Government website '.Gov.uk' is estimated to be in the region of billions of pounds with 1 in 4 UK businesses put off doing business overseas over fears of IP theft. The new deal will hopefully secure confidence and promise of better protection for their IP goods.

The free trade agreement with China is predicted to boost the UK economy alone in the region of £1.8 billion per annum with a large portion of these profits contributed by Intellectual Property sharing.

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