The European Parliament has given its consent to an EU-wide patent system to be set up under "enhanced cooperation" rules, despite previous objections from Italy and Spain.
The decision means that patents filed under the single system will apply in all participating EU countries. This frees businesses from the need to file individual patents in each country, which significantly increases the cost of filing patents in the European Union.
"Currently, national patents can co-exist alongside a European patent--issued by the European Patent Office, a non-EU body--but the system is complex and expensive: a European patent can be 10 times more expensive than a comparable US patent," the European Parliament said in a statement on Tuesday.
Read more of "MEPs give green light to common patent system" at ZDNet UK.