The UK government has eased the process for filing patents in Europe.
From 1 January, those making applications to the European Patent Office (EPO) will have to supply fewer documents than required in the past, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) announced on Friday.
"These new arrangements will make it cheaper and easier for UK firms to obtain patent protection as they look to expand into other European countries," intellectual property minister Baroness Wilcox said. "Cutting duplication is key to dealing with the worldwide backlog of patent applications."
Previously, those who made patent applications to the EPO, which helps protect patents across 40 European countries, would have to supply the EPO with results of patent searches already done by the UK IPO.
From 1 January the IPO will supply the EPO with this information directly. This is expected to benefit around 5,000 patent applications per year.
"The changes will mean less bureaucracy and costs for business while also improving efficiency at the EPO," a spokesperson for the IPO told ZDNet UK on Friday.
The patent backlog is estimated to cost businesses near £7.65bn per year, the IPO said.
This article has been updated, as the department of Business, Innovation and Skills has corrected the information it had relayed to ZDNet UK.