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Article updated: 12/11/2012 7:05 AM

EU approves common patent rules


BRUSSELS -- The European Union has approved a common patent system to cut red tape and streamline patent procedures across much of Europe.

The European Parliament on Tuesday concluded the drawn-out decision-making process, backing a cluster of packages by a wide majority to end nearly four decades of fighting and negotiating over the issue.

Currently, patents are filed in individual EU nations, costing up to 20,000 euros ($25,200), two-thirds of which is for translating paperwork into a score of EU languages. A key issue was to reduce costs and thus boost innovation with cheaper patents.

Italy and Spain wanted to derail the decision right up to the last minute when it filed actions with the EU's highest court, but the advocate general dismissed their pleas.

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